Most Americans say they are Christians, but few follow that up with deep, heart-level, life-directing commitments. This is true of all generations, and it remains true of young adults in the U.S., two-thirds of whom identify as Christian.
Caring for the poor and vulnerable is a defining characteristic of being a Christ-follower, according not only to scripture but also to many Christian 18–35-year-olds (43%) in The Connected Generation study, a recent international Barna project produced in partnership with World Vision. If this is a primary sign that someone is a Christian, what kind of impression are faithful 18–35-year-olds leaving around the world?
While, according to Barna’s categorization, evangelicals only make up about 6 percent of the U.S. population, this religious group has assumed a unique place in national discourse. As the U.S. enters another heated election year, a new Barna report shows Americans seem to increasingly view evangelicals through a political lens, which leads to mixed feelings toward this religious group. Our research has developed a pronounced portrait of this Christian minority over the years, but for this study our aim was different. We set out to understand how the general public understands evangelicals.
Just over half of 18–35-year-old Christians surveyed for The Connected Generation study (54%) attend church at least once a month, including one-third (33%) who are in the pews once a week or more. Three in 10 (30%) attend less frequently. A small group of Christians (10%) says they used to go to church, but no longer do. Despite their fairly consistent presence in the pews, almost half of Christians (44%) say that attending church is not an essential part of their faith. But even if belonging to a community of worship isn’t always seen as essential, young Christians who attend church point to many reasons their participation may be fruitful, most of which pertain to personal spiritual development.
Whether people are reflecting on what they’re grateful for, celebrating the holidays or planning year-end charitable donations, there are many reasons this time of year becomes a season of giving. As generosity and thankfulness push their way to the front of people’s minds, let’s revisit some key markers of the altruistic behaviors of people of faith. In this article, we’ll look to the Barna FaithView database to find where the most generous practicing Christians currently live. The lists below rank the top 10 giving markets in America, both in terms of nonprofit and church contributions.
In The Connected Generation, a recent Barna study conducted in partnership with World Vision, data show that young adults face some unique headwinds on their road to becoming effective leaders. When we take time to listen—an essential practice for connecting with 18–35-year-olds—we hear a sense of unease about the future and uncertainty about the kind of leaders that could make a difference. Part of it is the underlying sense of anxiety that permeates many societies today. For good reason, the connected generation perceives deep, wide, systemic problems facing the world’s future.