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Majority of American Teens Open To Learning About Jesus, but Who Is Teaching Them?

“Committed” and “Nominal” Christian teens came closest in viewpoints (15-point difference) when it came to seeing themselves and family members as a trustworthy source on Jesus. Emerson observed a positive view of this.

“It means young people tend to trust their closest community,” he said. “And for those just entering adulthood, that tends to be, by definition, their family.

“Baptists have historically emphasized catechesis, the practice of parents and church leaders teaching their children the basics of the Christian faith. This data shows there is still ample opportunity for the Lord to use that in the proclamation of the Gospel to the next generation.”

The report surveyed 24,870 teens ages 13-17 across 26 countries, plus 1,010 18-22-year-olds in the United States. In the U.S., the number of “Committed” teens basically fell by half – from 32 percent to 17 percent – upon entering young adulthood.

Church dropouts stated in a 2019 Lifeway study that the top reason they stopped attending was moving away to college. Environment factors heavily for bad, but also good.

“We do see young people [on campus] shifting in their beliefs, but I would say predominately in a positive way,” said Emerson.

OBU uses similar categories of students as the Barna study. Emerson said it is common to see students in the “Nominal” and “All Others” categories build a stronger relationship with Christ, whether through conversion or recommitment.

At the local church level, Christol noted the importance of student discipleship that is passed on among peers.

“We must radically intensify pouring into student leaders,” he said. “The influence of pastors is in trouble. Student leaders are the only way to solve the problem. Student leaders being the face of ministry rather than a youth pastor, in fact, is a better model.”

This article originally appeared here