Research + News | Topic: Church

5 Reasons Today’s College Students Are Nothing Like We Were

How can we connect with young people? The first step is understanding them. Read this blog post from Fuller Youth Institute here.

Helping Seniors Transition

Tony Akers blogs for Youth Specialties about some ways his church helps seniors transition well.

Read his post here.

Church Membership ‘Back Home’ is Not Enough

What is the role of the local church in the life of a college student? The Gospel Coalition takes a look. Read more here.

Americans Divided on the Importance of Church

BarnaChurchA new study by Barna Group reveals American attitudes toward church, particularly the place of church within faith development.

From the report:

“What, if anything, helps Americans grow in their faith? When Barna Group asked, people offered a variety of answers—prayer, family or friends, reading the Bible, having children—but church did not even crack the top-10 list.

Although church involvement was once a cornerstone of American life, U.S. adults today are evenly divided on the importance of attending church. While half (49%) say it is “somewhat” or “very” important, the other 51% say it is “not too” or “not at all” important. The divide between the religiously active and those resistant to churchgoing impacts American culture, morality, politics and religion.”

Read the full report here.

5 Bad Reasons to Leave Church

leavechurchRelevant Magazine op-ed by pastor and church planter, Aaron Loy, explains “five really bad reasons for leaving church.”

Loy writes: “While there are some good reasons for leaving a church, there are a lot more bad ones. As a pastor, I hear some of them every now and then as people walk out the door. As a church planter, I hear them constantly as people walk in the door.”

Here are the five “really bad reasons” according to Loy:

1. “I’m not being fed.”

2. “It’s getting too big.”

3. “I don’t agree with everything that is being preached.”

4. “My needs aren’t being met.”

5. Unresolved conflict.

Read the full article here.

3 Faith and Culture Trends for 2014

MajorTrendsBarna Group has identified three major trends concerning faith and culture. The research reports that “Americans are ranking their confidence in institutions at abysmal levels. And this institutional skepticism comprises a significant backdrop for the major faith and culture trends of 2014.”

Here are the three major trends:

1. The role of “church” generates both more skeptics and stronger apologists. 

2. Americans wrestle with a culture of violence.

3. Trust in the public school system is failing.

Read the full report here.

5 Reasons Millennials Stay Connected to Church

BarnaStudyBarna Group research, after a decade of interviews (27,140) and conducting over 200 studies, reveals reasons for why Millennials (generation born between 1894-2002) stay connected to churches.

From the report: “Barna Group’s research has previously highlighted what’s not working to keep Millennials at church, the research also illuminates what is working—and what churches can do to engage these young adults.” According to the research, churches that have had success keeping in attendance have 5 characteristics:

1. Make room for meaningful relationships.

2. Teach cultural discernment.

3. Make reverse mentoring a priority.

4. Embrace the potency of vocational discipleship.

5. Facilitate connection with Jesus.

Read the full report here.

Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity

In an article for The Atlantic, Larry Alex Taunton, founder and executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation, reflects on his many conversations with young atheists. He writes, “That these students were, above all else, idealists who longed for authenticity, and having failed to find it in their churches, they settled for a non-belief that, while less grand in its promises, felt more genuine and attainable.” Taunton also lists seven key takeaways from his interviews with college student atheists:

They had attended church

The mission and message of their churches was vague

They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions

They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously

Ages 14-17 were decisive

The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one

The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism

Read the full article here.

Spiritual Journeys of Millennials

The Barna Group sheds light on the “nones on the rise” trend by examining those 18- to 29-year-olds who used to identify themselves closely with faith and the church, but who have since begun to wrestle with that identity. According to the study between high school and turning 30, 43% of these once-active Millennials drop out of regular church attendance, amounting to eight million twentysomethings who have, for various reasons, given up on church or Christianity.

Read the full report here.

How Post-Christian is the United States?

Barna Group research firm analyzed 42,855 interviews conducted in recent years, looking at 15 different measures of non-religiosity. The research explores the emerging post-Christian landscape of the nation. Currently, more than 7 out of 10 adults describe themselves as “Christian” and more than 6 out of 10 Americans say they are “deeply spiritual.” The Barna Report explores how deep these labels go.

Read the full report here.