The Public Research Institute recently released their study titled “A Generation in Transition: Religion, Values and Politics among College-Aged Millennials”
It is filled with interesting findings for campus ministers, or anyone who is connected with, college students.
*They are generally independent but lean towards the Democratic party.
*There is a move towards no affiliation with religion – while only 11% were unaffiliated as children, 25% identify as unaffiliated as young adults.
*Most see the gap between the rich and poor as a big problem, thinking the economic system favors the wealthy and that the government should do something about this.
*While a slim majority (51%) think abortion is morally wrong, a majority think it should be legal in all cases (30%) or some cases (24%).
*A majority think gays and lesbians should have the right to marry.
*61% support the DREAM Act which would allow illegal immigrants brought to the US as children to gain citizenship if they join the military or go to college.
This is a helpful survey to understand the mindset of college students. I do suspect though that students strongly committed to their Christian faith tend to be in the minority on some of these issues mentioned. Based on my experience the Christian students are less in line with their peers and more in line with their parents.
At the same time I noticed this study, the book You Lost Me by David Kinnaman was free on Amazon. Since I will read almost anything if it is free, I downloaded this book and today I got around to beginning to read it. I read his previous book, UnChristian, which looked at reasons why young non-Christians reject the Christian faith. You Lost Me is about “insiders”:
At its heart are the irreverent, blunt, and often painful personal stories of young Christians—or young adults who once thought of themselves as Christians—who have left the church and sometimes the faith. The book’s title is inspired by their voice and mindset, and reflects their disdain for one-sided communication, disconnect from formulaic faith, and discomfort with apologetics that seem disconnected from the real world. You Lost Me is about their perceptions of churches, Christianity, and culture. It gives voice to their concerns, hopes, delusions, frustrations, and disappointments (Kindle Locations 114-119)
I am looking forward to reading this book and I will probably blog through it over the summer. While I said above that I suspect committed Christians are more in line with their parents then their peers, perhaps You Lost Me will show that young Christians are struggling to live in the tension between an outdated church and their surrounding culture. In such tension, they leave the church.
I am interested to see what You Lost Me says about this – why it happens and what the church can do to help young people.