As American culture grows increasingly more secular, churches are no longer carrying the kind of authority and influence they once had. Church is no longer a top priority for the bulk of young Americans, and a growing number of Christians don’t see the need to put down roots in a church.
However, it may surprise you that there’s still a dedicated population of young people who say church is a top priority, and that faith is the single-most important thing in their lives. This is promising—and is something we should get excited about.
So, instead of another report about the horrible and depressing findings about Millennials (Gen Y) and Plurals (Gen Z)—I thought it important to share with you five encouraging findings that explains why 30% of young Christians remain committed to church.
Reason Number One: They Have Personal Relationship with Jesus
Most young people who were raised in the church, either never made a genuine profession of faith, or were never discipled by adult Christians. However, this 30% of active Christians in the church have a bona fide relationship with Jesus. To this group, Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. They didn’t just go to church because their parents did. They keep going to church because they desire to grow in their faith with other like-minded Christians.
Reason Number Two: They Desire to Learn the Bible
These young Christians have a big appetite to learn what they believe and to do what the Bible says to do. A great verse that speaks to this is James 1:22, which reads, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (NIV). This group of young people is not looking to be deceived, but rather perceive the will of the Lord for their lives. And they know the Bible has the answers they can trust.
Reason Number Three: They were Raised by Parents Who Value Church
As a pastor, and a father of four, my wife and I have seen firsthand the impact the church has had in our children’s lives. When parents make church a priority, it instills in their children to never give it up. For these young Christians, church has not just been a great resource, but a place they call home. For them, church is a place they have come to trust and rely on to speak truth into their lives, and help them develop their spiritual gifts. So, kudos to you, mom and dad, for teaching your kids the importance of church!
Reason Number Four: They Have Community In Their Church
The relational aspect of a young person’s faith is huge! Meaningful relationships are a vital part of the success and well-being of young people. Without community, young people are prone to stray from the faith, and get caught up in all sorts of things they will later regret. Thus, one thing we have found with this 30% of churchgoers is their loyalty and accountability to strong community.
Reason Number Five: They Love to Serve
The final contributing factor we’ve discovered that keeps this group engaged in the church is a sense of mission. Serving others at church gives purpose to young people and brings a sense of fulfillment in their lives. I remember one student telling me at one of our Summit sessions that serving others at church helps her draw closer to Christ. I couldn’t agree more!
So, parents, take heart in knowing that there is a remnant of young Christians serving faithfully in their churches; and may we join together in praying that God will use them to reach their generation with the gospel of Jesus Christ!