While engaged faith is alive and well among a significant minority of Millennials and Gen Z, not all are convinced of missions’ urgency and efficacy. The Future of Missions, a brand new Barna report conducted in partnership with International Mission Board takes a closer look at what’s keeping young Christians from wholeheartedly engaging with global ministry. In an effort to inform the conversations church leaders and parents should be having with the next generation of missionaries, this study analyzes Christian generations’ past and present practice and perspectives of missions.
In Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon, Kinnaman and his coauthor, Mark Matlock, get to know the one in 10 young Christians whom they call “resilient disciples.” But they also take a long look at three other paths taken by young adults with a Christian background. Taken together, there are four kinds of twentysomething “exiles” making their way in our current day and age, which Kinnaman calls "digital Babylon."
In Faith for Exiles, Kinnaman and his coauthor, Mark Matlock, touch on the increase of young-adult church dropouts from 59% in 2011 to 64% in 2019. But what about the young adults who stay? We invite you to meet the one in 10 young Christians for whom we’ve coined the term “resilient disciples.” These young adults have made a commitment to Jesus and are a small, yet significant group of Christians who are running counter to the current dropout trend.
Over the last decade and a half, one of Barna’s primary missions has been to understand emerging generations—specifically Gen Z and Millennials in the United States—and discover how to best equip them to grow and share their faith. In the process, Barna has interviewed nearly 100,000 teens and young adults to learn more about their worldview, especially surrounding Christianity, religion and culture. As Barna deepens our understanding of the next generation and what they’re bringing with them into adulthood, we are also reflecting on some of the many conversations we’ve had with faith leaders about the bigger questions surrounding the next generation.
It’s clear that communication is a strong factor in the experience during and success of a transition. Unfortunately, communication with and to congregants is often neglected during transitions. A new Barna report produced in partnership with Brotherhood Mutual, Leadership Transitions, examines how churches navigate pastoral change and stay healthy amidst the shift while offering insight on what and how to communicate during a transition.
This August, historians note, marks 400 years since slavery began in the United States. As our country nears this anniversary, many are taking time to reflect on the history of racial injustice in America and their responsibility in healing the wounds of inequality that have been inflicted on black Americans over the last four centuries. A new report, Where Do We Go from Here?, represents the first of several new Barna efforts to study race and the Church and assesses what practicing Christians feel should be done to repair the damage.