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Barna Announces First-of-Its-Kind Global Study on Teens’ Views of Jesus, the Bible, and Justice

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The company’s biggest research study to date will be released this year and includes compelling perspectives from more than 25,000 teenagers ages 13 to 17.

VENTURA, Calif. – Barna Group, a social research company based in California, announced that it will be releasing a first-of-its-kind international research study focused on teenagers. “The Open Generation” is the largest study conducted by Barna in its 38-year history and the first global study to cover members of Generation Z on this level. More than 25,000 teens, ages 13 to 17, were included, with responses gathered from 26 countries.

The goal of the study is to provide an understanding of how teens around the world think, feel, and behave as it relates to three key areas: Jesus, the Bible, and justice. The study will reveal notable differences in Gen Z’s faith perspectives and practices when compared to those of the generations before them.

“As the global Church seeks to support, lead, and reach teens, it’s important that we gauge where they’re at — how they are doing emotionally, what they believe, and what they hope for the future,” said David Kinnaman, CEO of Barna Group. “As we explore the results of this study, we’re seeing some remarkable differences between teens today and other generations. There is a clear sense of optimism, confidence, and community found in the responses of teens globally. We’ve also seen some concerning perceptions and gaps in knowledge of foundational principles of Christianity that will challenge Church leaders as they engage with this generation.”

The study was developed and conducted by Barna in partnership with Alpha, Biblica, and World Vision, with additional support from Christian Vision, Bible Study Fellowship, Christ in Youth, and the Association of Christian Schools International. The support and global reach of this collective of organizations help to position findings from the study for international and long-term application.

“When we compare this study with our research on the Millennial generation, we’ve observed a significant shift in the way Gen Z teens approach faith. Some of these distinctions are encouraging — like teens’ openness to faith and making a difference in the world. Others, however, will cause us to pause and reconsider the way we connect with and meet the needs of teens in our lives,” said Kinnaman. “Barna, along with our partners in this study, are excited for this ground-breaking research to serve as a unique resource for Church leaders and others involved in teens’ lives to understand them and identify how to best come alongside this next generation.”