Millennial Faith Participation and Retention

By Glenn T. Stanton
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Many are quite pessimistic that today’s parents will be able to pass on lasting faith to their children.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Many are quite pessimistic that today’s parents will be able to pass on lasting faith to their children. Some experts are even spreading doomsday narratives in this regard. Faith leaders and parents have responded with anxiety, assuming that raising kids with lasting faith is unlikely.

The doomsday narratives, however, are grossly overstated. The truth lies somewhere between good news and bad news.

  • Only 11% of those who abandon their childhood Christian faith say they had a very strong faith as a child and came from a home where a vibrant faith was taught and practiced.
  • The General Social Survey finds a significant decline in mainline Protestant churches, but slight growth in conservative evangelical churches.
  • Slightly more young adults are switching their church affiliation than leaving their faith. Much of this transition is from one Christian denomination to another, rather than a more dramatic change from one religion to another or to nothing.
  • Only 18% of young adults raised with any religion are now unaffiliated with a particular faith (i.e. “the nones”).
  • Marital rates and church participation tend to go hand in hand. As one increases, so does the other, strongly linking the health of our families with church growth.

Read the entire report here.

  • © 2013 Focus on the Family.

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    About the Author

    Glenn T. Stanton

    Glenn T. Stanton is the director of Global Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family. He debates and lectures extensively on the issues of gender, sexuality, marriage and parenting at universities and churches around the world. Stanton also served the George W. Bush administration for many years as a consultant on increasing fatherhood involvement in the Head Start program. …

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