Barna Report on Youth

Key findings from a recent Barna report prove there is a huge opportunity to reach teenagers because of their extraordinary pursuit of spiritual interests.

  • 50% of teens attend a weekly Christian activity.
  • 75% discuss matters of faith with peers.
  • 33% participate in Christian clubs on-campus.
  • 75% have engaged in witchcraft or psychic phenomenon.
  • 81% have attended Christian groups for at least two months straight.

With so much activity and opportunity, what are the results? Barna shows the Christian church is not winning. It’s a phenomena he calls “Disengagement.” In college and afterwards:

  • Only 20% of maintain regular activity with a church.
  • Only 33% return to church as they become parents (compared to 50% among the over-40 generation).
  • 70% of evangelical youth will leave their church and denomination.

Churches are trying, but “much of those efforts are not creating a sustainable faith beyond high school,” the report concludes.

From ABC News:A recent UCLA study found many college students drift away from their religious upbringings. In the study, 52 percent of the students said they attended religious services frequently the year before entering college, but by their junior year attendance had dropped to 29 percent.”

And they are not returning to church after college. Only 6% of the kids from evangelical backgrounds continue to hold traditional evangelical doctrines into adulthood, according to Barna’s research.

Many thanks to Joel Hughes for his research here. Read the Barna Report posting in the Issues Forum for a discussion about this information.

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