The Changing Faith of Teens
The Barna Research Group recently revealed the changing faith practices of 13 to 17 year olds. Over the past 12 years, individual Christian practices among teens have significantly changed.
Among teens, small group attendance has dropped from 30 percent to 21 percent, prayer has dropped from 81 percent to 71 percent, and the percentage of teens that make charitable contributions to churches has dropped from 35 to 26 percent.
Evangelism practices have also changed. In the past twelve years, the percentage of teens who share their faith with unbelievers has shrunk by 18 percent.
What can we do about these changes?
- Emphasize personal faith development. This means spending less time emphasizing the importance of church attendance to teens, and spending more time coaching them about developing a personal relationship with Jesus. When they are entrenched in a personal relationship with God, prayer, giving, and personal testimonies naturally happen.
- Underline the mission of making disciples. The Great Commission is for everyone, not just those with a certain gift or personality. We need to emphasize to teens that making disciples is the central purpose of our Christian walk.
- Equip teens to make disciples. It is not enough to state that our mission is to make disciples; we need to give teens the tools to fulfill their calling as followers of Jesus. This means teaching them how to sincerely develop relationships with unbelievers, engaging unbelievers in spiritual discussions, and ultimately leading them to Christ.
What else can we do about the changing faith of teens?