Will Teens be Active in Church as Adults?
New research of teenagers indicates some surprising trends. When a random sample of teens was asked what values they would hold by age 25, 63 percent said they would be involved in church. Additionally, church attendance seems to be an indicator of future attendance, since teens that are more active now were more likely to see themselves as being active as adults.
The age of teens also played a significant role in future church attendance. Forty-one percent of middle schoolers expect to be actively involved with a church as adults, while only 24 percent of high school juniors and seniors expect to have future involvement with a church.
Further, teens from non-mainline churches were more likely to see themselves as involved in church life as adults. Teens from non-mainline churches were also more likely to see themselves serving the poor in the future.
What can we learn from this research?
Get teens actively involved now. Teens are not the church of the future—they are the church of right now! The more we get them involved in church, the higher the chances that they will be involved as adults. We can actively use them in all aspects of church life. We need to train them to be involved in every aspect of church life—corporate worship times, small groups, and mission trips.
Get teens involved early. Since middle schoolers are more likely to see themselves as involved in church life than high schoolers, we need to restructure our youth ministries to keep up the momentum from middle school to high school. Something needs to be revamped. Perhaps we are not giving them adequate ways to use their talents. What can we do in our individual churches to keep high schoolers involved, challenged, and interested?
Get teens involved in serving the poor. Teens need to be serving the poor along with adults. This will help them develop the desire, compassion, and skills to continue serving as adults.
What else can we do in churches to keep our teens active and interested in church life?