The Barna Group did some research on what teenagers look for in a church. I thought it was interesting to note some of the conclusions that they came up with. Many of the conclusions affirmed a lot of what I have been thinking about.
The Barna Group found out that teenagers today are some of the most religiously active people in the United States. This confirms the whole Generation Y phenomenon of wanting to connect with something greater.
But what do they look for in a church?
First of all, according to Barna’s research, the most common spiritual activity for a teenager is prayer (72%), while the next most common activity is attending a worship service at a church (48%). This is in some ways different from the older generation (Gen X). The younger generation wants to engage in corporate forms of worship and spiritual expression.
But the Barna group warns that this has been waning.
Secondly, they view church as a place where they can connect with God. Barna writes, “When asked to choose between a church that teaches the traditions and background of their faith or a church that teaches how their faith should influence everyday decisions and lifestyle, most teenagers preferred the latter (39% versus 16%).”
We are at a crossroads.
There is a whole generation rising up who are spiritually hungry for the very Presence of God, but the Church is faced with a question – “Is the church conducive (or the best avenue) for people to experience God’s Presence?”
This might challenge us once again about the importance of experiencing God’s Power and Presence through our worship times. I have always hungered for the day when people will receive visions, spiritual gifts and even healing while we are in corporate worship. This means that the people of God will have to become “undone” and lay down everything before the throne of God as we lift our praises to Him.
People cannot have a second-hand experience of God… it must be a visible and a viable experience that is rooted in the Bible and open to the power of God to work in our lives.