Young Adults are Leaving the Church



Jul 26


Annabelle Van Den Acker

Christianity is dying in Australia. And it’s the worst for Young Adults.

With an 18% decline in Young Adults affiliating with Christianity in just the past 4 years, it’s easy to get worried about the future of Christianity.

Christianity across all generations decreased by more than 1 Million people in the past five years (2016-2021), according to the 2021 Australian Census.

Not only is there a decline, but we also know that the stats show that the Young Adults age group were hit the worst.

The ABS revealed in the 2021 Census, that the generation that was MOST impacted by the decline, were the Young Adults (those aged 18-25).


  • 8.6% decline in Australians identifying as Christians
  • 1 Million decline in Christianity in Australia in 5 years
  • Almost 40% of Australians reported having no religion
  • The largest decline was seen in the young adults age group
  • 18% decline in Christianity amongst young adults
  • 46.5% of Australian Young Adults now have no religious affiliation


In contrast to the significant decline of Christianity in Australia, there was a significant surge in those calling themselves non religious. With an increase of around 9% of Australians identifying their religion as ‘none,’ Australia now has more people than ever identifying as non religious.

For the young adult age group, 46.5% of Australian Young Adults now have no religious affiliation (ABS, 2021).

Based on these predictions, by 2026, Australia could see more people identifying as non-religious than Christian!


So if church attendance is failing across all generations, then why is it the worst in young adults?

David Kinnaman, author of “You Lost Me: Why Young Adults Christians are Leading Church…and Rethinking Faith,” refers to this age group as the “black hole of church attendance.”

The ‘black hole’ generation (YA’s) are:

  1. leaving the church more than other generations
  2. leaving the church and blaming the church
  3. leaving the church and not returning

Kinnaman conducted a research based on surveys of 19-29 year olds who were raised in the church, to discover why so many YA’s are disengaging from the faith community and are found “missing in action.” Based on his research, Kinnaman found that in the US, Young Adults are leaving the church, they are disengaging from the church community, found no longer serving, and no longer attending. Not only are they disengaging, but Kinnaman also found that they are blaming the church. This is gut-wrenching stuff.

And it hasn’t always been this way…

Around 50 years ago, 1966 a landmark study called ‘Religion in Australia’ concluded that a person’s age made little difference to whether or not they went to church.

Statistics revealed that it was common for young adults to reduce church involvement in their young adult years, then return as they created their own families, however, this trend has not continued, and a larger percentage of those that leave at the young adult age, are no longer coming back. 


These stats are in our face confronting and down-right devastating. But more than just statistics, we have all seen and experienced young adults walk away from church. We see it in our midst. These statistics may have even been our school friends, those who we grew up in church with, those we served with in Youth Ministry, our connect group leaders, our family friends or siblings. They may have been people who passionate and committed, who served in our ministry groups at church and on all the teams, yet no longer attend. We all know these people… and we all know the grief and disappointment we experience when we see them turn from the church and pursue a life away from Jesus and his Body.


Hearing these confronting stats sparks a sense of urgency, does it not? It makes us want to do something. Panic? Cry? Or commit ourselves to reversing these stats. The truth is, these stats need life support. These decline of Christianity amongst young adults need the investment of many, to see revival in a generation. These stats and experiences seeing young adults leave the church should provoke us to go to great lengths to see a shift, and to hope that maybe one day, the black hole generation, might just be the catalysts for revival amongst Christianity in Australia.

If you have a heart for young adults, you are needed. We know that MANY of us are better than ANY of us. It wont take one church, one denomination, one university campus crusade. It requires all of us. Every young adult, young adult pastor and young adult leader everywhere, to work together to reverse the stats and see a multiplying movement occur.

GenJ exists as an organisation to equip and strategise with YA ministries, champion them in their contribution and together reverse this decline and transform Young Adults for generations to come.

We believe in a generation of Jesus-like people that are willing to reverse these stats. We believe in revival amongst Young Adults. We would love to partner with you.

Be blessed,


If you would like to partner with GenJ in seeing the decline in Christianity amongst Young Adults REVERSED, please get in contact with us via our “contact us” page, or attend one of our online training programs or  webinars.