Web-based Faith

A new study by The Barna Group (Ventura, California) shows that despite strong levels of spiritual activity during the teen years, most twentysomethings disengage from active participation in the Christian faith during their young adult years. The report, issued September 11, 2006, concludes twentysomethings continue to be the most spiritually independent and faith resistant age group in America.

Barna concludes church attendance is particularly irrelevant to this age group. Most of the “spiritual” activity of young adults, such as it is, takes place outside of a traditional church congregation. Rather than attending weekly church services, twentysomethings were more likely to attend special worship events not sponsored by a local church, to participate in a spiritually oriented small group at work, to have a conversation with someone else who holds them accountable for living faith principles, and to attend a house church not associated with a conventional church.

Interestingly, there was one area in which the spiritual activities of twentysomethings outpaced their predecessors: visiting faith-related websites.

The highly respected Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984. Discovering that twentysomethings explore faith-related websites while shunning traditional church attendance is an indicator of the impact the internet may have on the evolution of the 21st century church. This trend may motivate churches to provide more online presence, access and interactivity.

Find more articles by Cynthia Ware at The Digital Sanctuary