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04 November 2014

Where have all the young people gone?

Where have all the young people gone?

The Evangelical Alliance is asking millennials their opinion of the Church, in reaction to claims that the decline of young people could lead to "secular radicalisation". 

Pentecostal and other evangelical churches in the UK have prided themselves in church growth while traditional church attendance is in decline, but a leading church figure has revealed that there is a crisis facing their young people.

Rev Yemi Adedeji, a director of the Evangelical Alliance's ethnically diverse church group, the One People Commission, has warned that church leaders need to recognise the decline or the next generation could become "nominal Christians, which in turn could lead to secular radicalisation".

Adedeji, an ordained Anglican priest and pastor at Jesus House – one of the largest Pentecostal churches in the UK – has categorised the falling away of young people from evangelical churches as "very, very serious", and has called for church leaders to address the needs of their young people.

He believes that it's a "cultural generational difference" between the first generation of migrants to the UK who built the churches and the second generation - their children who were born in the UK.

He's urged his fellow church leaders to do things differently in order to engage this future generation of leaders.

"We still need to keep the faith, still keep the authenticity of what we do together but at the same time it might require, a change in the ways that things are being done," he said.

"From my own personal perspective, when they went to university my children began to think differently about what a church for their generation should look like. It was a total paradigm shift! They think differently about what a church for their generation should look like."

Adedeji made the comments as he launched a survey for 18-to-35 year old evangelical Christians to reveal the issues that they are facing in evangelical churches and the changes they would like to see.

The survey, available here, is open until 16 November 2014.

"The outcome of this survey will help us, the leaders and pastors, to listen to our young people, to take on-board their comments in order to reshape, rethink and reintegrate that generation and do things in a different way," says Adedeji.