Amid a pandemic and with the partnership of a collective of organizations—including Alpha, Biblica and World Vision, with additional support from Christian Vision, Bible Study Fellowship, Christ In Youth and the Association of Christian Schools International—Barna Group has embarked on a unique global project, the largest study in its 38-year history, focused on teenagers.
This article offers a sneak peek into The Open Generation (releasing late 2022), highlighting new data related to global teens’ ideas about Jesus. Barna and our partners will continue to explore this topic, as well as teens’ engagement with the Bible and motivation toward justice, through a series of reports and webcasts. You can stay in the know at opengeneration.info.
1 in 3 Christian Teens Believes Jesus Is Active in the World Today
As Barna has explored the profile of this generation, researchers have used words like optimistic, engaged, malleable, curious, authentic, inclusive and collaborative. From a global vantage point, there is a lightness of being among today’s teens that is less common among young adults even just a few years older. This is just one reason Barna is referring to them as “the open generation.”
Teens’ openness in these formative years appears to extend to the central figure of Christianity. Data show that most teenagers around the world—and across faith groups—have a positive perception of Jesus.
Teens also believe Jesus embodies qualities they aspire to themselves; for instance, one in three teens (35%) believes Jesus was an advocate for justice, a conviction that grows among teens who are committed to Jesus and engaged with scripture. This example of advocacy may appeal to the 87 percent of teens who agree their “generation has the ability to make a positive and meaningful impact on the world.”
However, teens’ ideas about Jesus focus more on the past than the present. While nearly half of teens (47%) say Jesus was crucified, just one in three (33%) believes he was raised from the dead, and only 21 percent say he is active in the world today.
Barna will continue reporting on this research in coming months, exploring what it looks like to draw teens into a dynamic, relevant relationship with Jesus and offering applicable insights to those who lead or care about today’s teens.
To receive a free digital download about The Open Generation and to stay informed on upcoming releases and webcasts related to this study, visit opengeneration.info.
About the Research
The Open Generation: This study is based on online, representative public opinion surveys conducted by Barna Group. A total of 24,557 respondents ages 13 to 17 across 26 countries were surveyed between July 21, 2021 and August 24, 2021 and an additional 313 responses were collected in February of 2022. Sample distribution based on continent and country are shown below.
United States – 1,015
Canada – 1,001
Mexico – 1,003
Brazil – 1,014
Colombia – 1,002
Honduras – 301
United Kingdom – 1,009
Ireland – 1,010
Spain – 1,000
Germany – 1,006
France – 1,000
Netherlands – 1,003
Poland – 1,000
Russia – 1,018
Australia – 1,000
New Zealand – 713
Indonesia – 1,000
Korea – 1,004
Malaysia – 1,000
Taiwan – 1,005
India – 1,010
Philippines – 1,000
Egypt – 753
Kenya – 1,000
Nigeria – 1,002
South Africa – 1,001
The margin of error for each individual country is assumed to be +/- 2.1%.
© Barna Group, 2022.
Since 1984, Barna Group has conducted more than two million interviews over the course of thousands of studies and has become a go-to source for insights about faith, culture, leadership, vocation and generations. Barna is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization.
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