Stunning research over the past few years has shown that Millennials — considered those individuals born between the years of 1980 and 2000 — are the most religiously unaffiliated Americans.
While most of the research surrounding young people has been negative of late, new data from the Barna Group, a firm that measures issues pertaining to faith, found that Millennials are actually the most active of any generation when it comes to evangelism and sharing their faith.
One of the major critiques of younger Americans is that, though they are in-tune with people’s physical needs, they may not be as concerned with tackling spiritual issues. But the Barna data doesn’t necessarily corroborate that notion, especially when it comes to young evangelicals.
When compared to their generational counterparts, evangelical Millennials are the only cohort that has actually increased in its evangelistic activity, going from 56 percent self-reporting faith sharing in 2010 to 65 percent in 2013.
A brief look at the other generations shows that young people — at least when it comes to sharing their Christian faith over the past year — are doing quite well. Evangelical Busters, those in their 30s and 40s today, were at an all-time high in 1998 for evangelizing (63 percent); today, only 48 percent of this generation is sharing its faith.
Then there are the born again Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. While 65 percent shared their faith back in 2007, only 49 percent reported doing so in 2013. The last generation, the evangelical Elders, has remained steady in its evangelism, according to Barna, with 53 percent sharing their faith in 2013 and 52 percent doing so back in 2012.
These results are significant, considering the bad press younger Americans have received. While it is true that Millennials are the most religiously unaffiliated, digging beneath that data shows that evangelical young people have a vested interest in their faith.
The Barna data follows a Pew Research Center study from 2012 that found one-in-three Americans under the age of 30 were unaffiliated with a particular faith.
The latter research caught a fair bit of attention, as young people were found to be the most irreligious they’ve been in the firm’s polling history.
It’s important to note, though, that unaffiliated doesn’t necessarily mean “atheist.” Currently, about six percent of the U.S. public calls itself atheist or agnostic. An additional 14 percent simply claims to have no religious affiliation.
Despite the high level of evangelism among young evangelicals, there are still major issues facing the relationship between Millennials and Christianity. In the past, TheBlaze has covered some of the reasons young people are leaving church — and the faith — behind.
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