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Joseph H. Bottum
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As far as Christmas miracles go, it ranks somewhere between virgin birth and the Sisyphean persistence of fruitcake.
Christianity Today recently documented the fact that America's churches are not only "failing to attract younger worshipers," but they are also "not holding on to the ones" raised in the church. Research studies indicate that "70 percent of young people leave the church by age 22" and that figure "increases to 80 percent by age 30." The American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) revealed that the "percentage of Americans claiming 'no religion' almost doubled in about two decades" (8.1 percent in 1990 and 15 percent in 2008). Among the young (18 to 29 years old) the number doubled (11 percent in 1990 to 22 percent in 2008), with 73 percent coming from religious homes and 66 percent describing themselves as "de-converts." Consequently, according to the Southern Baptist Convention (America's largest Protestant denomination), church growth is not keeping up with the birth rate.