A number of the articles on this website make for challenging reading. Writing them has caused me to reflect on the things we so often do wrong when it comes to encouraging faith. In the light of that I wanted to write something positive; something to inspire rather than just challenge. So these are some […]
I wonder if you have ever had a crisis of faith? Not a little wobble, but a serious, life changing episode of doubt? It’s a fearful thing. I’ve spent the last 18 months talking to people about how their faith has changed during the course of their twenties. Nearly 50 have told me their stories […]
Last year I wrote about the experiences of unmarried young adults in the British church. A number of people responded to the article with their own stories of ‘feeling invisible’ as an unmarried adult. However, a second set of relational issues have become evident from the data I’ve gathered from among those Millennials who are […]
Almost exactly 200 years ago Jane Austen pronounced (somewhat ironically), “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Many Millennials still aspire to marry – one day. Sexual politics may have changed beyond recognition since then but searching for ‘The […]
How do you make sense of tricky Bible passages? The Millennials involved in this research had a variety of different approaches, five in all, which they adopted depending on how disturbing or confusing they found a text. There’s a challenge in that for those of us who teach the Bible to consider how we model wrestling with an ancient text we consider to be authoritative. And how often we just skip over those passages leaving our young adults without the skills they need to read with the integrity they long for.
How does faith change? Many existing models belong to a time where people were considered fully adult by the age of 21. Clearly that’s no longer the case. This research shows that very young adults and older new believers ask, but often struggle to answer, important theological questions. Older Millennials often seem to have resolved those dilemmas. The process of how that appears to change challenges us to create space for people to wrestle and find coherence and integrity in their beliefs.
Gender has been one of the most contentious issues within many evangelical churches over past decades, whether churches encourage women’s leadership or not. However, data from 18 hours of discussion among young evangelicals shows interesting patterns including a sense of gender equality regardless of church background. However, many younger women do seem to lack confidence in their voices, so teens and student age girls may need greater encouragement to speak up or use their gifts than their male counterparts.
Most Christians don’t think about how they read the Bible, they simply do what they have seen modelled. This research showed that this was true for young adults but far from being self-absorbed readers, they wanted to make sense of the world within Scripture before applying it to their lives. We need to consider how to inspire confidence in Scripture by equipping believers to ask deeper questions of both the text itself and their assumptions about it.
Many Millennials are highly mobile. For good or ill, their reality is constant transition. So, how do they chose a church when they move – again? In previous generations denomination was how you knew what you were likely to get. However, according to the Evangelical Alliance that’s no longer a category most people use in selecting a church. However, it’s not a free for all. 75% of young adults reported choosing a church from within a theological and stylistic range. They consider teaching and worship but above all the reason for choosing a church is relationship. For a generation as unsettled as Millennials, being known and knowing others who love Jesus is key and they go where they experience genuine community.
Biblical literacy is a common concern for many church leaders, especially when considering younger generations. How well do those in our congregations know their Bibles? How often do they read them? This post looks at some sobering (though perhaps not shocking) findings from 100 young adults about their Bible engagement. Short answer; they learn the Bible in church, primarily from sermons and their knowledge is patchy – because often the way we treat the Bible is patchy. Don’t despair though – young adults do want to understand the Bible, they might just need some help in getting started!