Findings from a new study by The Barna Group reveal a frightening disengagement from Christianity during young adulthood. The study, based on data collected from 2,124 teenagers and 22,103 adults, including 3,583 twentysomethings, "shows that despite strong levels of spiritual activity during the teen years, most twentysomethings disengage from active participation in the Christian faith during their young adult years -- and often beyond that," a Barna report said.
Specifically, 61 percent of today's young adults, who, as teenagers, were churched at one point, are now spiritually disengaged. Spiritual disengagement is identified as being inactive when it comes to church attendance, Bible reading, or prayer. Only 20 percent of twentysomethings have maintained spiritual activity consistent with that of their high school experiences, the study revealed.
"In total, 6 out of 10 twentysomethings were involved in a church during their teen years, but have failed to translate that into active spirituality during their early adulthood," Barna said.
And for most adults, this disengagement seems to extend further into the stages of adulthood, specifically parenthood. Despite parental desires to give children spiritual guidance, the new study noted "that just one-third of twentysomethings who are parents regularly take their children to church, compared with two-fifths of parents in their thirties and half of parents who are 40 years old or more."
David Kinnaman, director of research for the study, believes these findings lend significant insight into the current state of youth ministry and young adult ministry.
"There are certainly effective youth ministries across the country, but the levels of disengagement among twentysomethings suggest that youth ministry fails too often at discipleship and faith formation," Kinnaman explained.
This article, reprinted with perrmission, appears in the November/December 2006 issue of AFA Journal, a publication of the American Family Association
© 2006 AgapePress all rights reserved.