The data they shared deals with the political views of Millennial evangelicals, comparing them to the political views of both older evangelicals and all Millennials.
Overall, the numbers tell us that Millennial evangelicals hold more liberal political ideas than older evangelicals, but more conservative political ideas than their non-evangelical Millennial peers.
Here are just nine numbers from the article I found interesting. All percentages below are of “Millennial evangelicals,” or evangelicals born between 1981 and 1996.
1. 42 percent self-identify as “Conservative.”
Only 16 percent of Millennial evangelicals self-identify as “liberal,” and 34 percent of them self-identify as “moderate.” It is unsurprising that the highest percentage of Millennial evangelicals identify as “conservative,” but the high percentage of moderates is fascinating, too.
2. 51 percent self-identify as “Republican/lean Republican.”
A higher percentage of Millennial evangelicals identify with the Republican party than identify as “conservative,” which is sort of interesting to me. I wonder how much this percentage would change if the survey was done again this year, as the survey was done in 2014 before the election season.
3. 65 percent say “abortion should be illegal in all/most cases.”
If you’re an older evangelical and you’re afraid that Millennial evangelicals are too liberal, never fear: They hold the line on pro-life issues. Sixty-five percent of Millennial evangelicals believe abortion should mostly be illegal, compared to just 63 percent of older evangelicals and compared to just 36 percent of all Millennials.
4. 49 percent oppose same-sex marriage.
This number is a bit low, honestly. Evangelical leaders need to understand that the biblical sexual ethic they preach is going to grind against the marital beliefs of about half of the young evangelicals in their congregation. That is not to say pastors should teach anything different, but it does make the case that the way in which marriage is explained may need some examination.
5. 27 percent say “growing immigrant population is a change for the better.”
I’m really sad this number is so low. The question isn’t even about illegal immigrants; it’s about immigrants in general. Only about a quarter of Millennial evangelicals say the growing number of immigrants is for the better. Thankfully, only 31 percent say the growing immigrant population is for the worse.
6. 41 percent say “bigger government and more services are preferable.”
This number is pretty high when you compare it to older evangelicals, only 27 percent of which agree that bigger government and more services are preferable. Fifty-four percent of Millennial evangelicals say that smaller government and fewer services are preferable, which is in line with their Republicanism/conservativism.
7. 51 percent say “homosexuality should be accepted by society.”
Remember: This is 51 percent of Millennial evangelicals, not all Millennials. So, over half of Millennials who self-identify as “evangelical” believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society. This is in line with the 49 percent of Millennial evangelicals who oppose same-sex marriage. Only 32 percent of Millennials’ older evangelical peers believe the same way they do here.
8. 55 percent say “stricter environmental laws are worth the cost.”
Only 43 percent of older evangelicals agree with this statement, which simply shows that Millennial evangelicals are a bit more environmentally conscious than their older evangelical brothers and sisters. I definitely see this to be true in my own life—I don’t hear many of my friends, even the most conservative ones, saying things like, “Global warming is a hoax.”
9. 50 percent say “government aid to the poor does more harm than good.”
This is a complicated issue, isn’t it? The desire to help the poor is so strong among Millennials, but Millennial evangelicals are split down the middle about whether or not the government’s work in this area is helpful. Further, 38 percent of all Millennials believe the government aid to the poor does more harm than good—that number is unusually high, in my opinion. I would think more Millennials would see the government’s help as a positive.
So What Does This Mean?
Millennial evangelicals, while about half still identify as “conservative” or “Republican,” do lean left on a number of political issues in comparison to their older evangelical brothers and sisters. At the same time, Millennial evangelicals are quite conservative in comparison to their non-evangelical Millennial peers.
This reality affects how evangelical pastors and church leaders minister to Millennial evangelicals and equip them for gospel ministry.
I think, most of all, older pastors and church leaders need to be careful not to take firm stands, conservative or liberal, on political issues that have no clear, biblical resolution.
For instance, it would not be wise to say “global warming is a hoax” or “illegal immigrants don’t need to apply for citizenship” from the pulpit. Making such statements may lead to unnecessary division and build obstacles to gospel ministry.
Multi-generational ministry is a glorious blessing. Young people can learn from old, and old from young. But it isn’t easy. Don’t make it any harder on yourself by taking hard stances on political issues that may have multiple biblical perspectives.
This article originally appeared here.