20 Tips on how to leave your faith Post-High School

So...you’ve just finished high school and you’re preparing for a life of young adulthood.

You know what that means, right?

You’re #grown!

You can do stuff now. You can get out under the weight of your parents, pastors and presumed plans. Do you feel that weight off of your shoulders? Yah, you do!

You can even start to choose whether or not you want to go to church or even MORE so, whether or not you want to serve God anymore. This is something you thought about a bit in grade 12 but couldn’t act out on but NOW? You can! Now you can party out loud and no one can stop you! Isn’t that crazy! Turn down for what? For NOTHING, that’s what!!

So while you’re contemplating this changing of teams, let me give you some helpful tips on how to leave your faith post-high school and to live the life you feel you’ve always wanted. This list is written in numerical order but can be lived out in no particular order:

  1. Put work over your church responsibilities. You’re right, not working on Sundays is SOOO Two Thousand and Thirteen, man. You can’t ask for Sundays off or on the nights you serve. You’re right, with the job market as it is, you have to take what you can get and not trust in God’s provision. Plus, you have podcasts you can listen to instead!
  2. Make all your plans on volunteer nights. You’re right, your university friends plans only allow you to hang out on youth nights and they are your new friends.
  3. If you move away from home, complain that you “can’t find a church like your home church” and then just stop going. You’re right, your home church is the best and since you can’t find the SAME model (based on demographics, history, leadership, The SPIRIT OF ALMIGHTY GOD, season, location...I could go on...) anywhere else, you shouldn’t go. You’re right, trying to grow with new people in a church is not the same as getting to know new people in a school/workplace/neighborhood and so not going is better. 
  4. Date someone who doesn’t hold your beliefs and solidly as they want to hold you. You’re right, there’s no one in your church worth dating because you’ve ‘known them since forever’. You’re right, better to settle for someone who doesn’t love God than to be single forever. You’re right, God doesn’t REALLY care about you having sex. You’re right, God wants you to save them and the best way is to talk about Jesus during a make-out break. 
  5. Fail in an area and then keep it a secret. You’re right, no one should know about _______. Keeping it to yourself protects them...that’s smart thinking. This is a great time to ONLY hang out with yourself too. Isolation is great at times like that!*
  6. Stay up late every night and eat poorly.
  7. Ignore God’s daily invitation to spend time with him.
  8. Blame others for your lack of growth (aka Drama).
  9. Say that you can’t go back to church because you have been away for so long. You’re right, everyone will notice you and ask where you’ve been. Better to stay away from the churcharatzzi.
  10. When in church, don’t engage. You’re right: the tweets & texts on your phone are so much more life-giving. I mean WAY more than the songs about Jesus, the teaching and the community around you. Plus church that doesn’t speak to YOU specifically isn’t for you, right? Also: Walk in late and leave early too to avoid talking to anyone. That’s an added tip.
  11. DON’T GO TO ANY YOUNG ADULT GROUPS. You’re right, it’s too serious and there are no minute to win it games. Plus it’s too small group-y or worship-y or teach-y or hang out-y or some other “y” that makes it you know, not worth going to. Plus, who needs the new friends, right?*
  12. Go to God for stuff as a last resort.
  13. Lose your Bible
  14. Don’t call your pastor back when they call to check up on you or call back and say “Everything is so great!”
  15. Stay involved with your weekly actions but not your daily heart. You’re right, better to fake it till you make it.
  16. Say that your sin of _____________ excuses or negates you from walking in God’s love.
  17. Become really cynical about everything churches do. You’re right, you’re much smarter because you listen to every podcast and read every blog. You’re right, your church IS stupid.
  18. Say something like “Right now I am ONLY focusing on school”. Now school is important, don’t get me wrong but you’re right, not ever taking a break to spend time with people is a bad thing. 90 mins will rob you of extra knowledge...and the excuse will work when school is done too!*
  19. Don’t tithe (if you ever were before). You’re right, university fees are hard so better to keep the money you have for Starbucks, clothes and stuff like that.#
  20. Let someone talk you out of your faith. You’re right, that professor with a bend to destroy your faith is so much smarter than you. Don’t ask your pastor for help and don’t hold on to the faith you profess. Forget about that time when God literally touched your life. The guy, who’s very breath came from the Lord, is much smarter.

I think if you follow these 20 steps in no particular order, you’ll find yourself not only far from God but far from any life that looks like what he would have wanted for you. Trust me, I can recommend this list after years of observational, heartbreaking research. This list is your ticket to a life of forgetting God or maybe worse still, lukewarm ‘I just go to church when I can’ status. This list is the ticket to a life far from Jesus.

And hopefully you read this list of a former young adults pastor who has seen some of his precious follow these steps and you will read between the lines and BE the complete opposite. 

And if you’re one of mine who’ve left over time and you read this note, it’s is NEVER too late to start again from where you’re at. Maybe I didn’t teach you as well as I could have. Maybe i didn’t reach out to you like I should have. For that I am sorry. But don’t hinge your present on my lack but focus it instead on His fullness. Don’t look at the time lost...look at the time left and make the most of it for God’s kingdom, your life and the lives around you. You are never too far from God’s love. Ever.

Here’s hoping...

“God did not send his son to change your to DO list but to change your to BE list” - John Ratz, King Street Community Church.


Points with an * are suggestions from two young pastors whom I love and respect a lot and ones with an # are from one of my former students who is doing well with his life in God and through God.