Tonisha Greer, 31, grew up in church. As she went out on her own, God was still important in her life.

Church, not so much.

The single Kansas City, Kan., mother says church focused more on tradition and people telling young people: “You shouldn’t do this.” “When we were your age we didn’t do that.” “You have to dress like this when you come to church.”

“Older members try to push their religion on you,” she says. “But you have to find your own relationship with God and know who he is for yourself.

“You don’t want to be judged when you walk in the church. You want to feel God.”

Although Greer visits churches, she says she’d rather stay home and have her own relationship with God.

To get young adults in church, she says, it needs to make them feel welcome, be more open-minded and accept those living worldly lives.

The Barna Group, a Christian polling company based in California, spent five years studying why young Christians like Greer leave church. Teenagers, young adults, parents, youth pastors and senior pastors were interviewed.

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