Are 1 in 6 young people really Christians?
By Fin Sheridan
I love good news. Phrases like “Today is payday”, “You don’t have to pay that parking ticket” or “50% of all shoes today” all make me a happy boy. But, I confess, I’m occasionally skeptical. I’m a bit of a cynic, especially when I think I know better…
The Telegraph recently commented that “more than one in five (21 per cent) people between the ages of 11 and 18 describe themselves as active followers of Jesus, and 13 per cent say they are practising Christians who attend church.”
Breaking down the details on a study commissioned by Christian youth organisation Hope Revolution Partnership and carried out by ComRes, the article paints a bright picture of young people’s engagement with church.
I immediately sent this article to various friends who are involved with youth ministry across the country and they were equally as surprised. Whatever these statistics say (and I’m not saying they’re wrong – just very surprising), this is very different to what most churches and youth groups are experiencing across the country.
You can find the whole survey at www.hopetogether.org.uk!
If young people are engaging more in faith then that’s a really good thing – and something we should celebrate. However, it’s more urgent than ever that the church continues to find new and innovative ways of reaching the next generation. If 21% of the UK’s young people are committed to following Jesus, then that means that 79% aren’t, which is a huge mission and a huge opportunity.
The recent election saw vast numbers of “the young” (granted, they were over 18’s but the point stands) turning out to engage politically. Young people are naturally attracted to a cause, to a meaning, to a purpose.
With ever increasing fatherlessness and broken homes, the church family has much to offer. As depression and mental health issues rise, the message of transformation through Jesus has never been more relevant. Until the number is 100%, we still have some distance to go.