Throughout the past decade, millions of women have left the church despite considering themselves Christians.
Ericka Andersen, an author and freelance journalist, recently published her book Reason to Return: Why Women Need the Church and the Church Needs Women. In the book, she notes that 16 million women have stopped attending church in the last 10 years.
"The phrase that I like to use a lot is, 'the church of your past doesn't have to be the church of your future,'" Andersen told CBN's PrayerLink in an interview.
Despite acknowledging that no church is perfect, Anderson invites women to return to church to rediscover joy and purpose.
"After seeing some data about how many women were leaving church and showing that women were leaving church at a much faster rate than men in the past 10 years specifically, I knew there was a message that they needed to hear because so many of those women, they're not turning away from God. But they do need an invitation back to faith community," she explained.
According to a 2019 study from Pew Research, women have become less religious in the past decade, with the number of women saying they are professing Christians dropping from 80 percent to 69 percent and the number of women identifying as religious "nones" increasing by 10 percent since 2009.
According to the CBN News, many women left the church amid the #ChurchToo movement, which revealed dozens of sexual abuse scandals in the church.
"By far, the biggest factor propelling women out of the church is sex. The #ChurchToo movement attested to just how damaging irresponsible handling of the church's messages of sexual purity can be for some women," a recent article in Relevant Magazine says.
During the Prayer Link interview, Anderson discussed additional reasons why women have left the church.
"One of the number one reasons is overwhelmed, stress, busyness which you might immediately conclude, oh maybe it's deconstruction or maybe it's people de-converting. But the truth is that most women that are leaving the church, they are not de-converting, they're not deconstructing, they still value their relationship with God," she explained. "Many of them are looking for a little bit of guidance, a friend to walk with them."
Anderson contended that healthy faith communities would be beneficial for women.
"All kinds of benefits happen for you and your family, including better rates of mental health, better relationships, better even physical health. And then your children are also growing up in this really firm faith foundation where they can thrive and are less anxious and less depressed and go into adulthood feeling confident about who they are and where they are in the world," she said.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/People Images
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.