Surfing for Religion
According to a recent study by LifeWay Research, 44 percent of all Americans use the Internet for religious purposes. That percentage increases for younger Americans. 48 percent of 35-49 year olds use the Internet for religious purposes. For those under 35, the percentage rises to 57 percent. Note that this is not 57 percent of young people who are religious, but 57 percent of all young people.
What can we conclude from this research? Here are 3 of many possible reasons:
1. Young people are searching. I don’t know about you, but it surprises me that so many young people are interested in religious topics. Are they looking for ammunition to fire against religious people, are they curious, or are they simply looking for answers? David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, who wrote the book, Unchristian, wrote, “Young people talk these days about the need for authenticity, for “keepin’ it real” — not pretending to be something you are not, being open about your faults. Young people are searching for this type of person, this kind of lifestyle.”
2. Churches need to embrace technology. It is sad that many churches have limited websites, if they have one at all. An Internet presence is necessary–not just for getting the word out–but as a prerequisite for young people taking churches seriously. Publicrelgion.org said, “one of the first things they did when evaluating churches online was to see if there was anything on the website or Facebook page about being a welcoming and affirming church.”
3. Young people are open to creative ways of worship. With the growth of technology, churches now have the capability to offer full-scale worship services online. For example, LifeChurch.tv, a leader in using technology for churches, has 80,000+ virtual members. As technology increases, the possibilities for Internet churches are virtually limitless.
What else can we conclude from this research about young people?