I know it is dangerous ground to walk on when you step out to speak for a massive group of people. I do not wish to misrepresent anyone by blatantly broad brushing either millennials or those in the Independent Baptist Movement. I merely want to express the feelings of myself, personally, and reflect on what I have gathered from conversations with others who grew up in the movement. I hope this article is an honest representation of those who have left the denomination or are questioning it’s importance to their lives. 

I also want to say that I understand there are many articles and websites devoted to tearing down and talking poorly of the IFB movement and all churches associated with it. This article is not intended to do such things. I have many friends, family, and acquaintances who attend very good churches led by Godly men, which happen to identify with the IFB label.

I do not deny that there are extremist IFB churches, however, there are extremists in every denomination, so they will not be the “straw men” for attack.

This article’s purpose is twofold. First, it is to encourage those who may have left or are considering moving on from the movement, not necessarily to leave, but rather to realize that their identity is not a denomination or a church, but the person of Jesus Christ. Secondly, it is a call to pastors, ministry workers, and laymen, to consider the potential flaws within the movement, and seek God, not man’s opinion, to provide direction for the church. Ultimately, I pray for the reform of any areas within a movement that has left Scriptural roots.

There are many articles on the future of the movement, the hearts of the people leaving, the hearts of the pastors in the movement, however I haven’t seen many which honestly reflect either side.

Long disclaimer aside, here are three ACTUAL reasons why I believe millennials are leaving the IFB church.

I. Apathetic Worship

Notice I didn’t say old-fashioned, or out of date, or traditional to describe the style of worship. It’s not the style which really irks me, or most others I’ve talked to. It is an apathetic, dead, careless, unenthusiastic style of “worship” (if it can even be called worship) which is very frustrating. The style of music is much less important to me than the spirit of worship. I have been to über traditional IFB churches where the singing is just saturated with a love for God and a heart of worship. Likewise, I have been to hip, trendy neo-IFB churches where they have a guitar and a set of drums, playing the latest Hillsong track, and the spirit of worship is for all intents and purposes, non-existent.

I find that in most IFB churches, much of this lackadaisical attitude toward worship stems from a lack of understanding what most of the late eighteenth-early nineteenth century words actually are saying. (To be fair, some modern songs don’t say much at all.)

While there are some amazing worship songs out now, I do understand the hesitation of some churches to jump into a new format of unfamiliar music. If you are in this category, at least consider having your worship leader share a scripture or even explain a verse of the hymn you are singing. This will help keep people’s minds focused on the beautiful truths of whatever song is being sung, rather than wondering why we want to “let angels prostate fall.”

II. Story Time, Not Teaching Time

This killed me attending services, revival services, and conferences growing up, and it still does.

Perhaps my biggest complaint about the majority (excuse my broad-brushing) of the IFB movement is the lack of legitimate expository preaching by most of the leadership. To sit in services where a speaker would get up and throw out opinions for 45 minutes, with a sloppy eisegeted text thrown in every couple stories to back themselves up became downright irritating.

When doctrine was presented, it rarely was communicated well. Sometimes I wondered if certain speakers even understood what they were teaching themselves.

But regardless of how sketchily the doctrine or belief was presented, it was to be held to and defended. I grew up an arminian, KJVO, pre-trib, dispensationalist without having one idea why I was any of those things, or even what they meant. All I knew was that everyone else was wrong except for Baptists. The seeming lack of education among IFB leadership was the biggest thing that drove me away from the movement.

I was monumentally refreshed by the intelligent and studious teaching found in the likes of R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, John Piper, and many prominent teachers outside the movement.

III. Non-Answers

This is probably the number one reason that many are growing agitated with the IFB movement.

When a disagreement, question, or lack of understanding is brought to a leader in the movement, typically it is met with anger, resistance, or even accusation of a wrong spirit.

To ask questions is to open yourself up to attack, rebuke, or ridicule. And in an environment that is not open to new ways of thinking, Biblical reformation, or questioning tradition, a growing Christian will have a very hard time staying.

If you are a church, even if you are a non-IFB church, always take questions, thoughts, or disagreements with consideration. If they are valid, seek God for reformation, change, and sanctification in that area. If it is not valid, greet it with grace, kindness, and most importantly, a studied Scriptural response rather than a response of tradition.

If you are a person bringing complaint, disagreement, or a question, approach the leadership with love, a gentle spirit, and ears to listen to a response. If you are certain you have a strong Biblical basis for your disagreement, and the leadership does not see eye to eye with you, then you may need to consider moving on from the church. If it is a secondary issue, seek God for patience and love for your church family. Remember they are growing too.

If the next generation and the former generation can have open, honest dialogue, we will see fewer leaving the church, and fewer churches remaining the same.

I hope if nothing else, this article provides some honest thoughts and critiques. I pray for both sides to understand my spirit, and that together, we can all grow to be more like Christ as we assist and chasten each other.

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. -Proverbs 27:17

36 thoughts on “Three ACTUAL Reasons Why Millennials Are Leaving the IFB Church

  1. Thanks for posting this. I agree with just about everything you said.

    I do want to interject a plug for non-expository preaching. While I’m not against expository in any way, I do think there’s room for other styles out there without the shallow, opinion-based preaching you talked about.

    My favorite kind of preaching is one-point (not 3+ point) topical preaching that uses a sound scriptural base to resolve a real-life problem that people face. I’m afraid we often resort to shotgun preaching under the guise of going verse-by-verse: “I’m going to shoot a bunch of pellets at em and pray I hit something.” Wouldn’t a focused, one point sermon that attacked an issue everyone faces in some way be a better biblical tool for the Spirit to work with? I think so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comment and the kind words. As for topical preaching, I believe it can have a positive impact in the church.

      When I refer to topical preaching, I do want to be clear that I am referring to a topic that the Bible is explicitly speaking toward, not a topic with non-related verses used to apply to it.

      For example, it would certainly be an appropriate time to preach a topical sermon on the rising acceptance of LGBT lifestyles, or female leadership in the church. The Bible has clear verses on the topics.

      If the Bible is silent on a topic, I believe we should be as well, at least in a church context.



    2. Thank you for posting this! All three of these reasons are why I left The IFB movement for the SBC. Also I was tired of the lack of unity amongst other IFB churches. I’m not hostile towards the IFB movement, I just knew of I stayed in it much longer I would be. Again thank you for your time


  2. I believe expository preaching is important because the Word of God should be the foundation of the sermon. Topical preaching can veer off what the scripture says. As a millennial graduate of two ifb schools I agree with your analysis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, topical preaching can only be effective if it is a topic expressly spoken of by Scripture. Thanks for the kind words Ben!


  3. I think that you correctly mentioned a lot of the big issues that millennials are facing in today’s church. I just do not think that the current culture, Christian or otherwise, sees church as relevant or useful as a whole. The preaching as watered down the message so much that do not see the point in going to church when they can live a perfectly good life on their own. The sugary sweetness of the churches feel-good sermons have allowed the people to stay home because they only need to love one another and be good people and never really taught anything else.


  4. I am an IFB church planter. I think you hit the nail on the head with this article. I have been in the ministry for over 25 years. I have lived long enough to see the truth of this article evolve over time. It is something that I as a Pastor, have been working to change in my congregation. Thank you for the spirit of kindness written into this article. I appreciate it and hope to learn from it.


    1. Thank you Pastor Cannon, thank you for being willing to read this and understand my spirit. Praying for God to bless as you continue seeking the Lord in the direction of your church.


  5. I agree with the points. However, replacing teaching with the list of speakers mentioned is simply replacing an obvious poison with a more subtle one.


    1. Thanks for reading! I apologize, not sure I understand the second half of your comment, are you just saying you would differentiate in doctrine from the teachers I mentioned? Blessings!


    1. Caleb, great point, I wish I would have thought to include it! Perhaps it’s time to start working on version 2.0 🙂


  6. Eric:
    I read your article above on Millennials leaving IBF churches. I agree with most of your observations. I can guarantee that any questions that you articulate to me will be answered in the spirit of I Peter 3:15. The problem that you experienced in IBF churches regarding theology is not an IBF issue but a larger Baptist issue. There is not a standardized theology that is purely Baptist. The reason for this is that Baptists are not a denomination but a movement. Most Baptists groups who believe that Baptists are a denomination or are protestants have their origin in the English Particular Baptist movement in England (of Charles Haddon Spurgeon was part of). The Particular Baptists adopted the Soteriology of Calvinism. The General Baptists in England on the other end of the spectrum rejected Calvinism and became known as the “Free Will Baptists”. Diversity among Baptist groups on issues of theology and practice is a common discovery most make and it can be very frustrating. I hope this helps.


    1. Well said William, this indeed is a sad truth. While the “1689 Baptist Confession of Faith” is a rather thorough outline of traditional baptistic doctrine, it’s a shame it is probably unread by most Baptists themselves. The issue of not having a standardized theology is a problem to a more extreme degree in the IFB movement, since they do not hold to a specific council or denomination. Independence can be a great thing or it can be a reason for ignorance and lack of enforced doctrinal education and instruction.


  7. How can you possibly be ARMINIAN in your beliefs and be from a IFB church? That’s a new one one me…the only Arminian Baptist’s are FREE WILL BAPTIST so your comment on knowing your doctrine is quite apropos!


    1. Welcome Ben, Actually much of the IFB movement I’m familiar with are in agreement with four of the five points of Arminianism. They would not claim the title but they certainly taught the doctrines. I was explicitly taught prevenient Grace, unconditional atonement, resistible grace, and many other facets of Arminian beliefs. I appreciate rebuttals to factual errors in my blog, but I find it odd you are attempting to counter statements I made regarding personal testimony and experience. I did experience what I say, and sadly many modern day IFB churches are Arminian in nature.


  8. Eric,

    Thanks for the article. Very well written.

    I am Youth Pastor in a IFB church. I have been in full time ministry for 11 years. 2 Timothy 3:14 tells us to continue in the things that we have learned. Titus is told by Paul to speak those things which become sound doctrine. I am sorry, but the teenagers, young adults and even adults coming out of neo-fundamental churches, liberal churches (and the-like) are coming to us confused. They are confused about salvation, they are confused about doctrine, many do not read their Bible, do not memorize their Bible. Many in these “Christians” live a life so mirrored by the world, they no longer are the salt and light of the earth.

    Here is what I see. Millennials are leaving good Baptist churches because it is a trend RIGHT NOW. They are ditching the KJV because it is a trend. They are changing the “style”, “DNA”, “chemistry” of the service, because it is a trend. Not because of a belief, not because of scripture, not to gain a deeper understanding of Jesus. It’s a trend, like skinny jeans and hipster glasses. Most of these guys wouldn’t know the difference between the KJV, ESV or a horse. I have spent most of my adult life carefully studying what I believe, and I am settled because the truth is clear. Most of these folks going to these churches are skin deep, and I think if we were truly honest we could all see that.

    I am sorry to be so black and white, I wish I could justify ditching the tie, not going to church on Sunday night, forget active witnessing, listen to rock-music, dress like the world, drink, watch garbage movies, rock out at church, never deal with my sin, and on and on. But of course I can’t, because as ignorant as so many think we are, I know my Bible, and I could go on for days about how it expressly tells me how to live. I find it rather disappointing that so many guys my age are so easily swayed by these trends. These trends will change, and weather or not Biblical living and worship come back into style, there will always be some that will be “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught”. Christians that are swayed by the trends, that give up on what they believe so easily are a dime a dozen, and always will be. Look at Daniel. He wasn’t swayed by the culture of his day, He purposed in his heart not to defile himself. We should all look at what we believe, and be careful not to give up on these truths so quickly.


  9. Great article! My husband and I have recently left the IFB movement. We are not millienals but we finally had our eyes open to the things that are so incredibly wrong with how we were both raised in IFB churches. Your article hit the 3 top things we noticed with the church we just left after 25 years (25 for me and 10 years for my husband). Well said, thank you for writing this!


  10. Thank you so much for this article. My family has just left the IFB church, after I have been in this denomination almost 36 years (my whole life). It has been refreshing and confusing!! First, we are getting to know Christ in such a royal, beautiful way. I strive even more, to please my Savior. Second, my boys are understanding God’s Word even better; since we have stopped reading the KJV, and are now reading the ESV and NKJV. They are learning even more how to apply God’s Word to their lives. My husband is leading us more and more, in a God-centered way. The confusing part is figuring out what is truly right and wrong, and how that measures up to God’s only compass; the Word of God. We are used to listening to man’s views. Now, we are actively searching out God’s views, and only His views. As I am writing this, we are facing rejection from my family. We face critical speech from them because we left the “only Bible-believing religion” out there. I appreciate my IFB heritage, but I am looking forward to see what God does and how He uses our family. We listen to Patch the Pirate and K-Love; and they are both A-ok!! 🙂


    1. Thank you so much for reblogging this article, and for understanding my spirit on this topic.

      Many blessings!,


  11. Great article, I also came out of the IFB church. I now am blessed to be a member of an amazing church family that is considered “Southern Baptist”. I did not leave because of music/worship, or lack of teaching, or even “non-answers”. I left because the IFB church just plain teaches false doctrine and lies. A huge percent of their teaching focuses on teaching their OWN OPINIONS on dress, hair length, music, skirts, frequency of church services, bible version, etc. They teach these even more vigorously than real doctrine. They spend as much or more time on these than issues that Jesus actually cared about. They pervert and twist verses, and take verses out of context to back up their opinions. I graduated from a very strict IFB college, and even went back to Master’s studies…. during which time, I really took time to actually study doctrine. I remember sitting in a class one day, being taught how to explain from the Bible to a new believer why women must wear long skirts only. The scripture didn’t support it, and the teacher could not provide ANYTHING to support the “Doctrine of Skirts” other than opinions. It took about half a year, a move halfway across the country, and visits to a dozen other IFB churches to finally open my mind to the idea that teaching opinions for doctrine was not right. In fact, it is just plain deceitful. I deeply studied the IFB claims on “wicked” contemporary Christian music, dress codes, Bible versions, and many other areas.The IFB church uses this verse to claim that it is “disobedient” to question what they teach — 2 Timothy 3:14-15 “You, however, continue in the things you have learned” However, the Bible actually encourages us to test those who teach the scripture, and to search out whether what they say is truth. In fact, in Matthew 15, Jesus himself specifically discourages teaching tradition AS doctrine…. “9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” The “KJV only” especially is a rotten doctrine. How many people turn away from church entirely because they are told they MUST try to understand an archaic translation?? I have learned several languages. It is a joke to claim that 400 years later, the English language is identical to King James. It took a LONG time for me to get over the “guilt” of wearing pants, as a woman, a Sunday school teacher who loves the Lord. But I finally was able to separate the guilt feeling as one imposed on me by a lifetime of being lied to. I feel pity for my friends who still live like that, trapped by guilt, afraid to question these false teachings. These lies. Call it what it is. I am no longer afraid. I know my Lord, I know He does NOT take lightly the perversion of His Word, and someone needs to tell the truth. I love my friends who are still in IFB churches, I know they love the Lord and are trying their best to please Him, and I know God appreciates their efforts… but I also believe that at some point in their christian growth, God will hold them accountable for perpetuating the lies of the IFB church and perverting the scripture. I hope when that day comes, they are strong enough to follow God, and turn away from the IFB church. It is VERY hard to leave, but in my opinion, it is inexcusable to continue to perpetuate this false teaching in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.


  12. I know this article has been out for over a year, but it is still very relevant for me in my current situation. I grew up IFB my whole life and as I started asking questions about traditions and Scripture I was labeled as having the wrong Spirit and prideful. The IFB have members who genuinely have a heart to serve the Lord, but are stuck on Tradition over open honest discussion. I am thankful for this article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, these types of messages and comments are so encouraging. I appreciate you writing this and I’m happy to hear it’s still relevant to you even now.

      I’m wishing you the best as you humbly seek Scriptural truth. There certainly are some genuine, kind, and caring brothers and sisters in the IFB movement — though sometimes it can feel rare. Always stay open to conversation, and some will come to you. If the others want to burn the bridge over silly issues, it’s not your fault.

      To the best of your ability, live peaceably in your quest for biblical living.

      Thanks again for commenting! Really appreciate it.


  13. to the alec krypnik your your yonger brother evgeniy sadomski is looking for bad problems agaiinst alec krypnik life evgeniyomskiy is trying to rob your famely in the future alec krypnik must beacareful of evgeny sadomskiy


  14. Great points! I am the Hispanic Pastor at my IFB church, and I have seen the problems you mentioned. I have some preacher friends that have left the movement, and I left for a short period of time myself. Thanks for sharing your observations. I pray that those that read this would take heed.

    Liked by 1 person

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