Collegians and Millennials are abandoning organized religion at a dizzying pace. Nearly four in 10 (39%) young adults (ages 18-29) claim no religious identity. Six in 10 say they stopped believing in the teachings of their childhood religion, according to a 2016 study by the Public Religion Research Institute.

Now, publishers are responding to this culture shift with books by believers, scholars and young adults themselves on Millennials and faith – or the lack of it. Several recent and upcoming books address whether or not Millennials care about religion, how they live out their faith and how faith leaders can reach them.

One reason for rising interest in Millennials is "the plummeting numbers of young adults affiliated with a church is causing huge anxiety for their parents,” says David Bratt, executive editor for Eerdmans. "They wonder: Will we be able to transmit what we believe to our children?"

Help may be on the way. Eerdmans has a title coming in late 2019 that offers some hope to the fretful folks, he says. The Confirmation Project is a book about what succeeds in drawing Millennials into church. The authors, Richard Osmer at Princeton Seminary, and Katherine Douglass at Seattle Pacific University, drew on a study by a group of authors who examined programs in mainline churches that boosted the numbers of young people confirmed in the church. Bratt says the book addresses what Millennials really want: to know what their church believes and to find answers to tough questions there.

This November, Zondervan will release The Passion Generation: The Seemingly Reckless, Certainly Disruptive, But Far From Hopeless Millennials, by a Grant Skeldon, a Millennial and founder of the Initiative Network. Sandra Vander Zicht, associate publisher and executive editor for Zondervan, says The Passion Generation was conceived by Skeldon and co-author Millennial Pastor Ryan Casey Waller, for parents, pastors and business leaders struggling to understand Millennials.

“Being the mother of a Millennial who had moved back home for a while as an adult and who struggled to find a career path, I was instantly hooked,” Vander Zicht said. She was also drawn to Skeldon because he launched the non-profit Initiative Network “in response to Millennials being labeled noncommittal, cynical, entitled, slacktivists. His goal was to train Millennials to be Christ-lovers, city-changers, church-investors, and disciple-makers.”

But they can't deal with this alone. Intergenerational relationships are necessary for the longevity and wellbeing of the church and its congregants, sociologist Meredith Gould argues in Transcending Generations: A Field Guide to Collaboration in Church (Liturgical Press, July 2017). And those relationships are not as difficult to achieve if people shake off stereotypes and see “at a core level, that what unites our generations is more significant than anything dividing us,” Gould writes.

Webster Younce, executive editor and associate publisher for Thomas Nelson, says, “The best way to reach anyone or any generation is to take their views and perspectives seriously.” On Thomas Nelson’s list for April is Saved from Success: How God Can Free You from Culture’s Distortion of Family, Work and the Good Life by Dale Partridge.

More upcoming books written by Millennials, including Friend of Sinners: Why Friend of Sinners: Why Jesus Cares More About Relationships than Perfection (Rogers & Cowan, March) by Rich Wilkerson, and three books from NavPress; Ready or Not: Leaning into Life in Your Twenties (April) by Drew Moser and Jess Fankhauser; Good News for a Change (June) by Matt Mikalatos, and Stumbling Toward Wholeness (Sept.) by Andrew Hames Bauman.

Caitlyn Carlson, acquiring editor of Good News, says, “Millennials are walking away from the church often because the faith they grew up with doesn’t seem to connect with the reality they know. We’re excited to be publishing a paradigm-changing approach to talking about the gospel that identifies with that angst.”

Church isn’t the only answer for Millennials' spiritual angst. InterVarsity press is releasing Mindful Silence by Phileena Heuertz, (Oct.) who offers the historic practice of contemplative silence as a response to anxious modern times.

InterVarsity, aware that some young evangelicals are turned off by a perception that their elders are anti-science, has another book, forthcoming in March, that tackles this perception head on. In Mere Science and Christian Faith, author Greg Cootsona argues that there is no need to choose between the two.

Tom Lin, president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, contributed an essay aimed at Millennials to a collection entitled Still Evangelical edited by Mark Labberton and published last month. Lin’s essay reflects on what it means to be evangelical in today's polarized climate.

Ethan McCarthy, assistant editor at IVP Books and a Millennial himself, says young adults are frustrated because “both conservative and liberal Christians have, in different ways, traded the transcendent mystery of our gospel for the here and now: whether by pursuing political power and influence, or by reducing the church to a list of social concerns. Either way, we’ve often missed the transcendent mystery of the Christian faith, which is the 'authenticity' millennials famously crave.”

To that end, publishers are keen to release books that show this mystery and demonstrate the hallmarks of Christian tradition that Millennials nonetheless feel are lacking in the church, such as “faith secure enough not to pander to them, for instance, or genuine love for the poor,” says McCarthy. “It’s part of our job as publishers to show people, both church leaders and young people throwing in the towel, that these things are already part of our Christian heritage.”

Recent and upcoming books also focus their attention on Catholics, Muslims and other faithful youth, who are seen as the potential audience for books on nurturing young adults toward a life of faith.

Selfies (Baker, March 2018) by Craig Detweiler addresses “how social media and self-portraits change our perspective on ourselves and each other—offering sage wisdom to anxious parents, confused church educators, and those daring digital disciplers,” according to Robert N. Hosack, executive acquisitions editor.

Faith Forward Future: Moving Past Your Disappointments, Delays, and Destructive Thinking by Millennial pastor Chad Veach (Thomas Nelson, Nov, 2017) emphasized what’s possible with God in the future, geared toward the generation for whom the future might seem the farthest away.

In Keeping It Halal: The Everyday Lives of Muslim American Teenage Boys (Princeton, Sept. 2017), sociologist John O’Brien follows a group of teenage Muslim boys who live, as he writes, “culturally contested lives,” and finds that their supportive communities of adults and peers, as well as the availability of social and physical spaces, enable them to “maintain a positive sense of both their Muslim identity and their American identity.”

In Faith with Benefits: Hookup Culture on Catholic Campuses (Oxford, Jan. 2017), theology scholar Jason King considers how students at Catholic colleges “drew upon religious faith to generate alternatives to this [mainstream hookup] culture — alternatives that provided better benefits.”

Married Millennials D.A. and Elicia Horton offer guidance from a Southern Baptist perspective on how to navigate mainstream cultural and religious expectations in marriage in Enter the Ring: Fighting Together for a Gospel-Saturated Marriage (NavPress, Jan. 2017). They tackle intimacy, money management, and how to raise children—not just as dependents, but as disciples of Christ—in a world where, they write, “convictions rooted in Scripture are under attack.”

In Faith with Benefits: Hookup Culture on Catholic Campuses (Oxford, Jan. 2017), theology scholar Jason King considers how students at Catholic colleges “drew upon religious faith to generate alternatives to this [mainstream hookup] culture — alternatives that provided better benefits.”