Reversing the decline



Dec 5


Peter Botross

Young Adults are marching out of the church in droves. 

The 2021 Australian Census data reveals an 18% decrease in Christian-identifying Young Adults in just half a decade. The young generations significantly contribute to the rise in Australians identifying with “no religion” (NONES). 

These bleak statistics might cause us to despair or attempt something audacious, doomed to fail unless the Lord Almighty intervenes. 

I propose three reasons behind Australian Young Adults’ departure from the church: 

  1. Discipling Message:

Young Adults depart from the church because of our biblically incomplete discipling message. 

Our message is often framed as a divine transaction. Young Adults imagine their faith is confirmed by a once-in-a-lifetime decision to “receive Jesus”, trading their sins for His forgiveness. Like a cosmic vending machine, Young Adults seek a God who makes their life better while making few, if any, demands on them in terms of identity, lifestyle, and purpose. 

Christianity centres around the formation and multiplication of a certain kind of person: a Jesus-like human. It is about the restoration of the image of God in humanity so that we can manifest His character and power in the world. 

  1. Discipling Methods:

Young Adults depart from the church because of our deficient discipling methods. 

A Barna Research report highlights the church’s deficient discipling approaches, where only 8% of Australian Young Adults are deemed “Resilient disciples.” 

Why is the church deficient in making Young Adult disciples? 

We may need a comprehensive discipling method that encompasses real-world modelling of Christlikeness, interactive teaching, facilitating experiential learning, and fostering genuine partnerships within the discipling community.

  1. Discipling Commitment:

Young Adults depart from the church because of the lack of commitment of their peers to disciple them.

According to the 2021 NCLS Survey, Australian Young Adults are most positive and satisfied with their church experience. Yet, how many of these engaged and satisfied Young Adults live for the cause of Jesus outside of church? 

Young Adults’ commitment to discipling others demands stimulating their desires, developing their competencies (i.e., biblical knowledge and discipling skills), and ensuring social support. 

Communities of Practice offer a promising biblical and educational approach to equip Young Adult disciplers. Disciplers’ identities are constructed through participation in these communities, where members immerse themselves in a nurturing environment, honing their discipling skills and collectively living out their calling as Jesus-like disciplers.

The Way Forward:

Reversing the decline is possible. With the Spirit’s power and through research-based discipling principles, we will see Young Adults passionately living for Jesus, influencing their peers, and transforming generations to come.

Check out my ebook, “Reversing the Decline of Christianity among Young Adults.” Discover research-based principles and down-to-earth steps to reverse the decline of Christianity among Australian Young Adults.

We would be honoured to partner with your ministry as you equip Young Adult disciples and disciplers.

Be blessed,

Peter Botross