Many have observed the trend of young people leaving the church, if not their faith altogether. As pastors, parents, and teachers, PRIME is our response to the trends seen in the following research.
RESEARCH REGARDING FAITH
- “If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation.”
Kenda Creasy Dean, Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church
- “The percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%.”
Pew Research Center (2015)
- The percentage of Gen Z that identifies as atheist is double than that of the U.S. adult population.
Barna Study (2016)
- “More than one-third of Gen Z (37%) believes it is not possible to know for sure if God is real. More than half of all Americans, both teens (58%) and adults (62%), agree with the statement “Many religions can lead to eternal life; there is no ‘one true religion.’” More than half of Gen Z says church involvement is either “not too” (27%) or “not at all” important (27%). Only one in five says attending church is “very important” to them (20%), the least popular of the four options.”
Barna Study (2016)
- “There are certainly effective youth ministries across the country, but the levels of disengagement among twentysomethings suggest that youth ministry fails too often at discipleship and faith formation. A new standard for viable youth ministry should be – not the number of attenders, the sophistication of the events, or the ‘cool’ factor of the youth group – but whether teens have the commitment, passion and resources to pursue Christ intentionally and whole- heartedly after they leave the youth ministry nest.”
Barna Study (2016)
- “Two thirds (63%) of teenage Christians don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 51% don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead. 68% don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a real entity. Only 33% of churched youth have said that the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home.”
Josh McDowell, David H. Bellis, The Last Christian Generation
- “Only 10% of Christian twenty-somethings (18-29 years old) have a resilient faith (defined as Christians who engage with their church, trust the Bible, believe in the sacrificial work of the cross, and express desire to transform society as a result of their faith)”
Barna Study (2019)
- “The results indicate that teens are more religious during their early teen years, and that religiosity begins to decline as teens near adulthood. When asked, “How important are your religious beliefs?”, 63% of 13- to 15-year-olds answered “very important,” compared to 52% of 16- to 17-year-olds. Church attendance also drops during the teen and young adult years and begins to climb as adults age. Fifty-four percent of teens aged 13 to 15 reported having attended church in the past seven days, as did 51% of 16- to 17-year-old teens. The figure drops to 32% among 18- to 29- year-olds.”
Gallop Poll Study (2002)
RESEARCH REGARDING CHURCH
- “A majority of twenty-somethings – 61% of today’s young adults – had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged.”
Barna Study (2006)
- “Two-thirds (66 percent) of American young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year as a teenager say they also dropped out for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.”
LifeWay Research (2017)
- “Between 50% and 66.7% of Assemblies of God young people who attend a non-Christian public or private university will have left the faith four years after entering college.”
Dayton A. Kingsriter, Assemblies of God Study (2007)
- “While 69 percent say they were attending at age 17, that fell to 58 percent at age 18 and 40 percent at age 19. Once they reach their 20s, around 1 in 3 say they were attending church regularly.”
LifeWay Research and Ministry Development (2017)
- 52% of college students reported frequent church attendance the year before they entered college but only 29% continued frequent church attendance by their junior year.
UCLA Higher Education Research Institute (2010)
- “Current data seems “to suggest that about 40-50% of students in youth groups struggle in their faith after graduation.”
The Fuller Youth Institute (2010)
WHAT MATTERS TO GENERATION Z
- Inability to reconcile the Issue of Suffering and a sovereign God who is good
- View the Bible as un-credible
- See no co-operation between science and the Bible
- No sense of absolute truth and continuously shifting sense of morality
- See no value in the role of the church
- Biggest cultural and political issues: sexuality, immigration and refugees and poverty
- Don’t want to offend or hurt anyone with their beliefs and opinions
PRIME helps young people integrate faith into their everyday life – laying the foundation of what they believe (Doctrine), the way they see life (Worldview) and how they live these things out (Discipleship). PRIME aims to educate and equip students as they step into adulthood in a primarily post-Christian context.
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