Do Young Adults Fear Long-Term Commitment to a Church?

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woman sitting on the floor and working from home

As a young adult myself, I have heard many of my friends express that they struggle with long-term commitment issues. It seems to be the plague of our generation because we are so afraid of doing it wrong.

These issues are generally about friendships and romantic relationships, but what if this fear also applies to a relationship with God?

A Decline in Church Attendance

woman speaking in a room with low church attendance.
Via Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

An article from the Religion News Service claims that more young adults are leaving religion for a variety of reasons. It is unclear whether COVID-19 is helping or hurting this issue.

On one hand, many young adults have attended church services via various streaming options during this period of social distancing. This time of struggle seems to have given young adults a desire to seek God. On the other hand, as this article states, “For many young adults, the first reaction to COVID-19 is not, ‘let me go back to church.'”
In my recent pondering, I have thought about our church’s guidelines for reopening church services. In my research, I have seen mixed reviews from members of all ages. Many think that it’s much easier, more convenient, and less time consuming to have church services at home. Comparatively, younger people prefer church meetings in person over church meetings at home.

Long-Term Commitment to a Church

Women reading the scriptures to decide which church to make a long-term commitment to.
Image via churchofjesuschrist.org

The authors of this article also bring up long-term commitment to churches. They say that many young adults will try a church if it’s easy for them to try it. This is why most mainstream Christian churches are streaming their services regularly nowadays. The pattern is generally young adults trying out a church for a couple of weeks and then moving on to the next one.

Related Link: Study Reveals Young Adults’ Views On Marriage 

This pattern of church-hopping leads us to believe that long-term commitment is the overarching problem. Long-term commitment to anything is an issue for young adults because we have been subject to a world of change. Young people seek stability but they don’t generally search for it in organized religion.

Getting Our Priorities Straight

A couple that has made a long-term commitment to marriage and family.

The young adults participating in the study that pairs with this article ranked family, friends, and work above a relationship with God. Most of the people that I know have a very casual relationship with the higher power whom they worship. After these people went to college, they either completely fell away from religion or leaned into it more deeply. I think that this is because of the pivotal timing in their lives. Many young people abandon religion because they don’t feel obligated once they are out of the house.

Related Link: 10 Marriage Tips From Prophets That Every Couple Needs 

Finally, this article mentions that young adults who are religious are more likely to be married and have children at a younger age. Within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is stereotypically the case—although my Christian friends are getting married and having children at a similar rate to those within the Church. This is in part because of a shared belief in chastity. Attending a church and having a solid ideology is what leads people to feel secure and make long-term commitments like marriage.
Do you think young adults have long-term commitment issues with churches? Share in the comments. 

Zoë Holyoak is currently a BYU student, photographer, and writer. Her hobbies include long walks through the ice cream aisle at the grocery store and correcting bad grammar. She is also a proud member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a mission for the Church in Portland, Oregon.