Extensive new research from The Barna Group shows that nearly half of young adults worldwide who have a connection to Christianity feel that the Church can’t answer their questions.
Barna, a California-based evangelical research firm, partnered with the leading international evangelical humanitarian organization World Vision to compile “The Connected Generation” study.
Published in a research report, the study is based on a survey of 15,369 young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 across 25 different countries and nine languages.
The study analyzes the values that millennials and Generation Z adults are bringing with them into adulthood and what their relationship to faith is like. The research aims to equip pastors and church leaders to better understand the young adults of today.
Although young adults seem to be in tune to issues of poverty and conflict around the globe, the study indicates that a large portion of young adults today are experiencing weaker levels of connectivity with the society around them.
Additionally, the survey suggests that churches are struggling to not only adequately respond to the questions of many young adults today but are also struggling to raise up the next generation of church leaders.
“This generation is often more alike to other people in their generation than they are older adults in their own countries,” Barna President David Kinneman said during a webcast rollout of the survey.
“They are truly a connected generation. They are connected through screens. They are connected through technology. They feel as though events around the world are affecting them. Think of this contrast: We have never lived in a more connected age but they are also disconnected in many ways with the people around them.”
Seventy-seven percent of young adults surveyed for the study said events around the world matter to them. Additionally, more than half of respondents sense a connection to people worldwide.
However, only one-third (33 percent) say they feel deeply cared for by those around them.
“Only a third say they often feel someone believes in me,” Kinnaman said. “This tells me that two out of three young people around the world would not feel these kinds of relational connection.”
Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of respondents say they encounter feelings of loneliness and isolation.