Good Morning and Welcome to this week’s Gospel and Culture update, by Alan Vink
Tuesday 20th September 2022
In 2019 Barna Group completed a study of 15,000 young adults in 25 countries. This global study offered an unprecedented look at the faith and well-being of young adults – in this case 18-35 year olds. Here is an article titled ‘3 Key Insights About Young Adults Around The World’ and here is the full Report that you can buy.
An early and obvious theme to emerge from this research—is broad agreement with two statements: “Events around the world matter to me” (77% all) and “I feel connected to people around the world” (57%). The experience of connection in one’s daily life, however, isn’t a guarantee. In fact, the vast majority of young adults feels the impact of broad, global trends more than they feel loved and supported by others close to them.
The 3 Key Insights are:-
- Loneliness, Isolation & Anxiety Plagued Young Adults Even Before the Pandemic.
Just one in three 18–35-year-old respondents shared with Barna that they often felt deeply cared for by those around them (33%). When respondents had an opportunity to provide a portrait of their emotions to Barna, the image was one of a generation gripped by worry. Anxiety about important decisions was widespread in the connected generation (40%), as well as uncertainty about the future (40%), a fear of failure (40%) and a pressure to be successful (36%).
- Despite Recognizing a Leadership Crisis, Young Adults Aren’t Always Ready to Step Up.
For good reason, young adults perceived deep, wide, systemic problems facing the world’s future. As of 2019, four out of five 18–35-year-olds affirmed—and nearly half strongly affirmed—that “society is facing a crisis of leadership because there are not enough good leaders right now” (82%). This was one of the most widely endorsed statements in the entire global survey, which suggests its significance to this generation. In addition, one-third believed that “what it takes to be an effective leader seems to be changing.”
“The connected generation is looking for the Church to provide real, tangible, meaningful opportunities for development,” David Kinnaman (CEO of Barna Group) noted. “They want the church to be a laboratory of leadership, not just a place for spirituality. They want their faith to intersect the realities of life and, as budding Christian leaders, they want to address real life issues.”
- Young Adults Listed Friends & Opportunities to Fight Injustice as Missing from Church
“The Christian faith paints a radical picture of how God intended the world to be,” shares Chine McDonald (director of Theos, author, speaker and broadcaster). “Salvation is not just about life after death and it is not solely for the individual. God’s big story is about the complete restoration of the whole of creation and reconciliation with God through Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection. “When Millennials who believe in this truth attend churches where the focus is parochial, small and individualistic, is dominated by judgment rather than love, or when church leaders speak of who’s in or out rather than speak out against the injustice and oppression of people made in the image of God, then they walk away.”
POV. It’s a tough world out there and many YA’s are not faring to well. And this is saying nothing about the under 18 year olds who from all accounts may be suffering even greater anxiety and a growing sense of hopelessness. Many churches in NZ have complained for many years about the huge drop off of YA’s in their churches especially in more traditional churches. This superb piece of research reminds and informs us to ramp up our care and support for YA’s, to offer them meaningful leadership opportunities and help them to connect to just causes. Young Adults are passionate about wanting to make a difference in our world.
Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.