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Why You Might Be Aiming at the Wrong Target in Your Ministry to the Next Generation


Articles in Leaders & Pastors in Millennials & Generations • October 7, 2020

With only 10 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds who grew up Christian or in the Church qualifying as what Barna defines as “resilient disciples,” pastors may wonder, what can be done to engage young people and even raise this percentage in the years to come? In the third installment of the five-part video series Five Essential Conversations About Ministry to the Next Generation, David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock discuss why leaders to Millennials and Gen Z may be aiming at the wrong target in their outreach.

Matlock shares that, within research for their book Faith for Exiles , he and Kinnaman identified five practices that contribute to resilient faith in young people—practices that present leaders with an opportunity to better disciple the next generation.

Below, listen in on part 3 of 5 to learn more about rhythms to bolster resilient faith.

Matlock also mentions the 38 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds who grew up in the Church whom Barna calls “habitual churchgoers.” These young adults “have their hand on the door,” says Matlock, and are ready to leave the Church if they do not find the connection and support they need during the pandemic. Right now, ministry leaders have the opportunity to help Millennials and Gen Z realize how the silence and solitude of the current moment can be leveraged to deepen their spirituality and encourage resilient faith.

Throughout the rest of the week, tune in daily for a new video in Five Essential Conversations About Ministry to the Next Generation. Get the extended videos in a Barna Access Plus subscription, which gives you unlimited access to Barna Next Gen content, including Barna courses, labs and emerging data on younger generations to fuel your next gen ministry strategy. An Access Plus membership also includes access to all our research reports and six additional curated content channels for just $19 a month.


Or, get the Making Resilient Disciples course, now just $99, and receive the extended video conversations as an added bonus—this week only.

Five Essential Conversations About Ministry to the Next Generation:
Part 1: Why Millennials Aren’t Watching Your Streamed Worship Services
Part 2: Will the 2020 Pandemic Accelerate Loss of Faith Among the Next Generation?
Part 3: Why You Might Be Aiming at the Wrong Target in Your Ministry to the Next Generation
Part 4: How Mental Health Is the New Domain of Ministry to the Next Generation
Part 5: Why 2020 Might Be Good News for the Church

Comment on this research and follow our work:
Twitter: @davidkinnaman | @barnagroup
Facebook: Barna Group

Photo by Annie Spratt from Unsplash.

About Barna
Barna research is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.

© Barna Group, 2020

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