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Building Tomorrow’s Church today – Evangelical Alliance

November 27, 2015

BTCTIn listening to the voices of the young adults (aged 18-37) within our churches, this research has found that there are many who are still actively involved in church life and passionate about being part of their church family. It tells a positive story of how young adults’ faith is developing as they commit to church, serve, give generously and build relationships.

But many say that their churches are not equipping them to share their faith with others, to engage in social action or to live out their faith at work. And we also hear from some young adults who’ve chosen not to belong to a church because of frustrations or hurts.

This resource provides a timely opportunity for us to each reflect on how our own church is listening to and engaging with young adults, prayerfully considering how we may need to change so that we are building tomorrow’s Church today.

Only about 25% read their bible daily whereas 63% pray daily.

47% tithe (60% BMEs do)

70% have witnessed to others but 60% find it difficult to do so.

Many say that their church doesn’t help them:

have opportunities to meet a marriage partner

in their personal evangelism

to engage in social action

in living out their faith at work

in developing leadership skills and experience

Two thirds (66%) say they attend a multi-generational church, while 22% say most people are older than them, and 15% say most in their church are the same age as them. A third attend an ethnically diverse church, and two-thirds say most people are of the same ethnicity as them (white British are more likely to say this – 55% versus 41% of BMEs).

94% go to church weekly. For those who don’t go to church:

39% say it is in part because they really struggle with the way churches are run

22% say it is in part because they have been hurt by a church in the past

An EA director said: It’s difficult for us to realise that the place where we’re supposed to find community, refuge and hope – the Church – can often be the places where we encounter our deepest hurts. We know that people fail, but our God alone is the rock on whom we can depend. For some millennials, however, their entire faith is inextricably linked to the church they attend. So when their church fails, their faith is rocked. It’s shocking to see that for 18% of those currently not attending church, their experience of hurts in church almost made them lose their faith. We need to do all we can to build a robust faith among young people so that when the storms of life come – the hurts, the depression, the eating disorders, the doubt, the divorce – they stay in our churches rather than leave.

One said: A few people who I met and trusted with personal circumstance used the

information to gossip and spread rumours about me.

Another: The pastor blanks me occasionally (doesn’t even say hello), he doesn’t

remember my name, he doesn’t seem interested in why I’m there.

Another: I felt that I didn’t belong; people were extremely cliquey and didn’t want to branch out of their friendship groups and include others.

71% changed churches because they moved location.

A third (32%) have been Christian for all their life, and almost half for most of their life (46%). A fifth say they became a Christian a few years ago, and 2% not

long ago. BME respondents are more likely to say they have been a Christian all their life (41% compared to 30% of white British

Only 49% find preaching helpful. Others use the internet to get teaching.

Theologically, on many issues millennials’ beliefs are largely biblically orthodox. The vast majority agree that Jesus rose from the dead, that Jesus was fully human and fully God, that the Bible is the inspired word of God and that on the cross Jesus received God’s punishment for our sins

732% BME think that the Bible mis inerrant (compared to 52% whites)

BMEs are more likely to think that creation and evolution are incompatible.

Homosexual actions are always wrong for 76% BME and 43% others. But 51% (28% BME) think gay marriage should be available.

Christians should not marry ‘non-Christians’ say 72% BME (54% whites)

81% BMEs oppose cohabitation (63% whites)

Men are more likely to agree that:

Humans are separated from God as a result of sin (87% agree compared to 81% of women).

Homosexual actions are always wrong (61% agree compared to 47% of women)

The Bible in its original manuscript is without error (63% agree compared to 53% of women)

Sexual intercourse outside of marriage is always wrong (78% agree compared to 69% of women)

Abortion can never be justified – unless the mother’s life is in immediate danger (61% agree compared to 49% of women)

Assisted suicide is wrong (66% agree compared to 53% of women)

Women are more likely to agree that “regardless of whether I think homosexuality is right or wrong, I think in our plural society

same-sex couples should be able to marry” (49% agree compared to 41% of men).

Women are more likely to agree that women should be eligible for all roles within the Church in the same way men are (78% agree compared to 70% of men)

A Baptist pastor noted: the instinctive disposition of millennials to tackle the injustices of contemporary society shouldn’t be overlooked. Millennials are inclined towards sharing, community, civic and political mindedness and are technologically-savvy. They are intentionally opposed to discriminatory and oppressive practices and use social media to inform and be informed.

About a third need mentors (spiritual directors?). 23% say that older people find it difficult to relate to them. A Pentecostal minister said: If Jesus had the 70, the 12, the three and John the ‘beloved disciple’, we may need to prioritise the layers of relationship that ‘growth through connection’ makes possible. In the latter cases Jesus is the mentor. In ours, mentors need mentoring too – or at least a robust framework of accountability.

The report is online here

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