What Percentage of the 40s and Up Are Leaving the Church?

I had an interesting conversation with Jim, our preacher, about the last blog post. He raised the question of what percentage of people beyond their 20s & 30s are leaving the church. Jim is in his early 60’s and told me that almost none of those he grew up with in church are still active Christians (at least that he knows of). The statistic of 75-80% of Christians leave church/their faith between the ages of 18-25 is mentioned often. The question then is whether this is true just of that group or of any group that you pick. In other words, if you were to pick any other demographic group in the church would the numbers be similar? I looked over at barna.org but couldn’t find anything on this.

So here is my question for any of you, especially for those of you  who are over 40. What percentage of people would you say leave in their 40s, 50s, 60s, etc? Is this just a young person problem or would that 75% statistic come close to mapping onto just about any sub group you pull out of the general church population?


About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

4 Responses to What Percentage of the 40s and Up Are Leaving the Church?

  1. Chris P says:

    I am 51 and was part of a campus ministry of 3-400 college students. Of my room-mates, good friends, men in my wedding. Over half have gotten a divorce, but most of them still go to a convervative church (that would be similar to Church of Christ but with instruments.) But these were guys who were very active in the campus group.

  2. Some of those stats have become almost mythical in scope. Two posts worth reading in this regard:

    Ed Stetzer, LifeWay research: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/january/21.34.html

    Frank Turk’s open letter to George Barna (on divorce stats, but relevant to all his research and worth a read): http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2011/08/open-letter-to-george-barna.html

    I can’t really put a figure to those in my own life that are still faithful/left the faith. I can tell you it is nowhere near the oft-quoted 75-80% though (40 yrs. here).

  3. mattdabbs says:

    Thanks for the feedback Chris…anyone else have anything anecdotal on this?

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