10 November 2014
Where have all the young people gone? Survey launched
Ethnic minority churches launch survey to address youth crisis in their churches
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 "wake up and smell the coffee" or the next generation could become nominal Christians which in turn could lead to secular radicalisation.
Adedeji, an ordained Anglican priest who is a 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 he 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. Now if that has happened to me personally and to many of my colleague leaders and pastors then we must wake up and embrace the challenge. If we keep quiet and we don't do anything we could lose quite a bit of the next generation. If we do nothing, we might as well wipe out the next generation's continuation of our faith."
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 online at www.eauk.org/millennialchristians, 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.
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
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 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 for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are 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. www.eauk.org