Thanks for this blog Seth!
I received an email update a few weeks ago from the Barna Group about a generation frustrated with Christianity. I meet these kids all the time; they are desperate for something real, something more than just a meeting on Sunday and Wednesday. They want something to give their lives to. Here are some excerpts from the study:
As the nation’s culture changes in diverse ways,
one of the most significant shifts is the declining reputation of
Christianity, especially among young Americans. A new study by The
Barna Group conducted among 16- to 29-year-olds shows that a new
generation is more skeptical of and resistant to Christianity than were
people of the same age just a decade ago…
When young people were asked to identify their impressions of
Christianity, one of the common themes was “Christianity is changed
from what it used to be” and “Christianity in today’s society no longer
looks like Jesus.” These comments were the most frequent unprompted
images that young people called to mind, mentioned by one-quarter of
both young non-Christians (23%) and born again Christians (22%).
Kinnaman explained, “That’s where the term ‘unChristian’ came
from. Young people are very candid. In our interviews, we kept
encountering young people – both those inside the church and outside of
it – who said that something was broken in the present-day expression
of Christianity. Their perceptions about Christianity were not always
accurate, but what surprised me was not only the severity of their
frustration with Christians, but also how frequently young born again
Christians expressed some of the very same comments as young
…David Kinnaman, who is a 12-year-veteran of
the Barna team, pointed out some of the unexpected findings of the
research. “Going into this three-year project, I assumed that people’s
perceptions were generally soft, based on misinformation, and would
gradually morph into more traditional views. But then, as we probed why
young people had come to such conclusions, I was surprised how much
their perceptions were rooted in specific stories and personal
interactions with Christians and in churches. When they labeled
Christians as judgmental this was not merely spiritual defensiveness.
It was frequently the result of truly ‘unChristian’ experiences. We
discovered that the descriptions that young people offered of
Christianity were more thoughtful, nuanced, and experiential than
“Some Christians fear the changing reputation of Christianity
and it certainly represents an uncomfortable future. Yet, rather than
being defensive or dismissive, we should learn from critics, especially
those young Christians who are expressing consternation about the state
of faith in America. Jesus told us to expect hostility and negative
reactions. That is certainly nothing new. But the issue is what we do
with it. Is it a chance to defend yourself and demand your rights? Or
is it an opportunity to show people grace and truth?
“Common ground is
becoming more difficult to find between Christians and those outside
the faith. When the Apostle Paul advises believers to ‘live wisely
among those who are not Christians’ and to ‘let your conversation be
gracious and effective,’ (Colossians 4:5-6, NLT) he could be writing no
better advice to committed Christians in America.”
Read the rest of the study and others at Barna.org. Don’t forget to check out the Call Las Vegas today at 1pm (you can watch it on GodTV) and see Gary Black, along with Lou Engle, call a generation to their destiny. See my previous blog for more info on this and my dream for this generation of young people.
A group I have been participating with has just done a 4 week discussion forum on the contents of that book and I am still reading through it, eye opening and amazing insights!
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