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New study shows that youth are more engaged with church than we think

For a long time Christian youth have been accused of being lazy towards their faith and showing no interest towards religious practices. The religious have blamed “slacktivism” among the youth for this tepid attitude towards their faith. However, recent reports indicate that “slacktivism” in church may actually be just a myth. Research by Barna indicates that a majority of youth are actually actively engaged in church activities, contrary to the common belief that youth are going away from religion.

The report by Barna says that 68 percent of parents have admitted that their children are “fairly active” at least once every few months in church-related volunteering activities. The figure is a sizable number. People who have traditionally been critical of the relaxed approach of the youth towards their faith will now have to reconsider their opinions. 17 percent of the youth volunteer at least once a week, 25 percent at least once a month, 26 percent at least once in a few months and 32 percent volunteer less often.

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However, this does not mean that church attendance by the millennials has increased. The rate of millennials leaving their churches has increased and now stands at 59 percent. On a parallel note, the number of youth who do not affiliate to any church has increased from 44 percent to 52 percent. Interestingly, as for the youth who have now begun to become more spiritually inclined, most do not even consider a church as being influential in bringing them back to the faith. These youth credit their new-found faith to friends, family, prayer groups or simply to their “relationship with Jesus Christ.”

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About a quarter of the sample studied, who range between 18 to 29 years of age, have said they attend services at least once a month. This indicates that despite a drop in church attendance among youth, hope is not completely lost for church leaders. A majority have said that they pray at least once a week and a quarter have revealed that they have Bible reading habits.

The results of the research have some very crucial points for church leaders to note. The patterns in the response indicate that there is a need for spirituality among the youth, but the modern culture and trends are shifting from traditional church-centered spirituality. The youth want a more personalized spiritual experience with activities and volunteering opportunities that are more flexible rather than institutional. This makes sense because of the kind of change modern education and work-life has undergone which gives little to no time to the youth to go about routine, regular practices.

Church attendance has definitely gone down, but there is still hope if religious leaders rethink how they present their faith to their youth.

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