August 21, 2014


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) -- The idea that young adults are abandoning their faith in droves may be widely accepted but isn't fully accurate. So says a Focus on the Family study that casts light on trends among young adults that may contradict doomsday predictions for the Christian faith.

"Parents who provide a home where faith is vibrantly practiced -- even imperfectly -- are remarkably likely to create young adults who remain serious Christians."
-- Focus on the Family study
The study, titled "Millennial Faith Participation and Retention," tracked the religious trends of Millennials (usually those born between 1980 and 2000) and found that only a fraction are leaving their childhood faith -- usually because they may not have had much of one to begin with.

The study utilizes data from the Pew research sources and the National Science Foundation's annual General Social Survey.

About a fifth (18 percent) of young adults raised in homes with any measure of religious influence are now unaffiliated with a specific faith, according to the Focus on the Family analysis. Sixty (60) percent of Millennials, meanwhile, categorize themselves as "keeping faith."

Of those who are unaffiliated, only 11 percent said they had a strong faith as a child and lived in a home where a vibrant faith was practiced and taught. In other words, the vast majority of young adults leaving Christianity never had a strong faith to start with.

"This is not a crisis of faith, per se, but of parenting," the Focus on the Family study noted.

"Parents who provide a home where faith is vibrantly practiced -- even imperfectly -- are remarkably likely to create young adults who remain serious Christians, even as they sometimes go through bumpy spots in the road," the study said. "[N]ot surprisingly, homes modeling lukewarm faith do not create enduring faith in children."

The study also found that 20 percent of young adults are switching faiths, with most of the transition being from one Christian denomination to another.

Citing the General Society Survey (GSS), the study noted that the percentage of Americans identifying with mainline Protestant churches declined by 2.2 percent from 1991 to 2012, while those identifying with more conservative evangelical churches gained slightly (0.6 percent).

The GSS also indicated a commonly-reported growth in the number of Americans claiming no particular religious affiliation (from 8.1 percent in 1991 to 19.7 percent in 2012). Among Millennials, however, the study says that many of these "nones" have not abandoned faith altogether but rather turned to a more generalized spirituality.

The study, which was released in August, cited some leading theories as to why "nones" have risen in number among Millennials: Young adults tend to engage less in community participation (which includes church); ... Read More

Viral on Facebook: Christian movie trailer
NASHVILLE (BP) -- "God's Not Dead," a film about the existence of God and defending one's faith, is making waves on Facebook. The movie's trailer, posted on the popular social networking site, has racked up 4.95 million views, 948,696 likes and has been shared 623,731 times. Read More
Helping students stay in church
NASHVILLE (BP) -- What can you do to help a student or young adult have a lifelong faith? Here are a few practical things -- whether you are a parent, grandparent, youth leader or church staff member - to help students in your church grow and mature in Christ.
Read More
iPhones, Androids, dads & families
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- We have all seen it. The father, surrounded by T-shirted kids clamoring for his attention, lost in the alternate universe of his iPhone. "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" they shout, little arms straight up in the air, as if they can physically pull his attention back to them. It's enough to make a casual bystander want to jab the guy in the ribs. Read More
Clock is ticking to teach manhood
SPRINGVILLE, Ala. (BP) -- For John Croyle, the clock continues to tick. Whether on the football field or in the life of a child, the seconds slip away until the outcome is clear.
Playing on championship teams for legendary University of Alabama head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, the former All-American defensive end knows the value of every moment in a game. ... Read More

First Person
Kevin Ezell
FIRST-PERSON: By all possible means
Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, describes three new church planting catalyst positions to join NAMB's work in North America to start churches for the deaf, for military personnel and for people who might visit a small group in their neighborhood but not visit a church.



 © Copyright 2014 Baptist Press. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use.

Southern Baptist Convention