NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A majority of America’s teenagers, 56 percent, attended church-related activities an average of at least twice a month when younger, but few of them received Christ or developed a biblical worldview while there, new research by Christian researcher George Barna shows.
Additionally, 6 percent of teens said they attended church-related activities at least once a month when younger. However, of all teens who attended an average of at least once or twice a month, only 53 percent said they understood “the Bible so that every decision you make is based on biblical principles.”
The survey involved interviews with 305 teenagers ages 13-18. The survey asked teens to answer questions about their church involvement prior to turning 13.
In a news release, Barna said “the result of [teens’] involvement at a church is that they can recite some religious facts, they made some friends, and they had fun. That’s wonderful, but we also find that most of them have neither accepted Christ as their Savior nor altered the basis on which they make their moral and ethical decisions in life. For most teenagers who have spent years attending church activities their faith is not integrated into who they are and how they live.”
Among the survey’s findings:
— Ninety-five percent of teens who had attended church activities said they had exposure to Bible stories, 92 percent said they learned about “great people” in the Bible and 89 percent said they had “fun” or “positive experiences” related to religion.
Eighty-five percent said they had developed a deeper relationship with Christ.
— Eight out of 10 teens who attended church activities said they gained an important “insight” from their attendance. Twenty-six percent said they received general information about God — such as the teachings of Christ. Seventeen percent said they had gained core religious beliefs from the Bible. Twenty-one percent said they learned nothing of value.
The young people most likely to attend church activities at least twice a month were those in the South and Midwest. Teens least likely to attend church activities were in the Northeast and West.
“We discovered fairly strong correlations between understanding how to use the Bible for life decision-making with becoming a born-again Christian during the younger years, having an active spiritual life as characterized by consistent prayer, Bible reading and church attendance, and possessing a biblical worldview,” Barna said. “Unfortunately, less than one out of every 10 churched teenagers has a biblical worldview.
“… Most of the young people who claim they developed an understanding of the Bible that enables them to make decisions based on biblical principles show no evidence of using that understanding in relation to the core beliefs and lifestyle choices that we studied.”