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26 October 2015

Press release

New research reveals key concerns for Christian young adults

New research reveals key concerns for Christian young adults

A landmark survey published today reveals that millennial Christians – those aged between 18 and 37 – are the philanthropic generation who consider giving their money to charity a top priority.

Despite living in cash-strapped times millennial Christians are extremely generous. A combined total of almost half (47%) give away at least a tenth of their money. Black and Minority Ethnic Christians (BMEs) are markedly more generous – with 60% giving away at least a tenth of their income, compared to 44% of white British young adults.

Building tomorrow’s Church today: the views and experiences of young adults in the UK Church, published by the Evangelical Alliance and launched at a special event on board the HMS President, Victoria Embankment, London at 6pm tonight (Monday, 26 October), also finds that almost three quarters of respondents stated faith as the most important factor in the decisions they make. However, the research raises concerns that a quarter of young adults said that older people in their church struggle to relate with them and a fifth were thinking about leaving.

The research highlights fascinating differences between white British and BME respondents with white British respondents being consistently much less conservative in their views.

Areas of disparity include views on the authority of the Bible, evolution, homosexuality, cohabiting and marrying a non-Christian. Some 81% of BMEs think cohabitation is not something an unmarried Christian couple should do compared to 63% of white British Christian millennials. A further 73% of BME millennials believed that the Bible in its original manuscript is without error compared to 52% of white British young adults.

However, when the opportunity arose to talk about their faith, 81% of white British millennials had shared their faith in the last month compared to 61% of BMEs.

Bible-reading seems to be less popular with millennials than prayer. Around 63% of young adults surveyed are praying daily, while only a quarter are reading their Bibles every day.

The study, which also breaks down the statistics by gender, reveals that men are more likely to commit to a daily devotional than women (31% versus 23%). There are no significant differences in prayer habits by ethnicity.

The survey also reveals several frustrations: the Church seems to be doing less well in helping young adults to find a marriage partner and develop leadership skills. Worryingly, almost a third of respondents said they don’t have a Christian mentor, or a group of friends they are honest and accountable to about their life and faith and a third said their church was not really helping them to live out their faith at work.

Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said:

“Our research proves that not all young adults are leaving the Church in droves. They are passionate about prayer, sharing their faith and giving. However there is still work to be done. It is concerning that millennials lack suitable mentors.

“Mentoring is the most effective tool we have in undoing past mistakes the Church has made and transferring wisdom gained over a lifetime. It is a privilege. Within each Christian leader is the potential for limitless reproduction. We can do this.”

The report states that less than half, (49%), said that the teaching they find most benefits them is teaching from their church – meaning leaders cannot assume that it is their preaching that most influences millennials in their congregations. It illustrates that other channels such as podcasts, online blogs and social media benefit them in their pursuit towards a closer relationship with God.

Yemi Adedeji, director of the One People Commission of the Evangelical Alliance, said:

“Peer pressure is a huge reality for Christian millennials who can sometimes feel compelled to behave a certain way in order to fit in to student or work life. As church leaders we have a mandate to use the results of this survey to examine how we are engaging with young people and to consider how we can listen to the next generation and position them for success in every area of their lives.”

The young adults surveyed were committed church attenders, with 89% attending church weekly, with another 10% attending at least monthly.

Download the report in full at eauk.org/tomorrowschurch  

Media Enquiries

Danny Webster
Tel: 07766 444 650
Email: d.webster@eauk.org

Notes to Editors

  1. For interviews contact Esther Kuku on 0207 520 3853 or 07734 194 445. Building tomorrow’s Church today: the views and experiences of young adults in the UK Church is available for download at eauk.org/tomorrowschurch
  2. The launch event is by invitation only and attendees must have their invite with them to gain entrance.
  3. The One People Commission is a body of the Evangelical Alliance made up of key national church leaders, committed to celebrating ethnicity, while promoting unity within the UK evangelical Church.
  4. The Evangelical Alliance has recently launched a Mentor Connect website, with Stewardship and CPAS: mentorconnect.org.uk
  5. We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them to listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government, media and society. We work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. We are also a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.