New stats of Religious Teens in the UK

Is it really true that 20 per cent of young people are active Christians? Unsplash

I found this article over the weekend, and I wanted to share it with my readers.  The articles states how approximately 20% of adolescents in the UK claim to be religiously active.  I believe that the author makes a good point to show how sometimes religious studies where recipients self-report are not accurate. It could also reveal that like young adults in America, many claim to be spiritual – but what that really means is different to those who study faith and religion.

When something seems too good to be true, it’s probably because it is. As reported by the Daily Telegraph at the weekend, a new piece of research suggests that 21 per cent of young people (aged between 11 and 18) describe themselves at ‘active followers of Jesus’. And while that is a wonderful idea, and one that all of us involved in youth ministry hope and pray for, I’m afraid it definitely doesn’t ring true. One of the team behind the research was quoted as being ‘shocked’ by the results, and said ‘there was disbelief among the team because [that number] was so high’. It’s a remarkably honest sentiment, and one I share.

Here is the rest of the article.

I have written many times about the Millennial Exodus, and the decline of Christianity in America.  England has traveled that road before us, and those who still cling to faith understand the new world that we may soon be facing.  The author writes,

 “The Church is faced with a huge challenge in re-engaging young people.”

The UK is not alone.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is the founder of the EA Network.  If he can help you and your community ministry to the emerging adults in your community, please contact him at


Faith Radio Interview – with Neil Stavem

I was recently interview by Neil Stavem on Faith Radio about emerging adulthood, and the delayed development of adolescents.  It was a great time of discussion, and I am thankful for the opportunity to work with their team.  Here is a write-up that they completed of my interview.

Or download the interview – Here.

Dr. G. David Boyd says that while God doesn’t provide a clear definition of adulthood, there is a big difference between what Scripture reveals to us and what our society teaches us on the subject of adulthood.

“For example, if you ask adolescents what it means to be an adult, some will answer that it is about being independent, both financially and emotionally, and of course moving away from their parents’ home.”

“However, God’s design for us as adults has never been independence, but interdependence.God has designed us a social being who should learn to rely on each other as we go through life’s journey.”

Dr. Boyd discovered that if we don’t have a proper understanding of what it means to be an adult, we won’t be able to teach our children what it means. As a result, he created an evacuation plan for parents and emerging adults to use during their transition into adulthood. He reviews the three main developmental tasks from the acronym VAC:

“Vocation: are they able to work in whatever God calls them to?”

“Autonomy: are they able to establish autonomy? The ability to make decisions and deal with consequences?”

“Community: can they develop community, the ability to develop and maintain interdependent healthy relationships?”

“If we teach our adolescents and emerging adults, and give them the ability to discover vocation, to establish their autonomy, and to develop community, then they will be a healthy functioning adult.”

Dr. Boyd points out that these developmental factors also resonate with the core of what it means to be human.

“Our basic needs of a human are to be useful, to be free and to be loved.”

He expands our human nature and the importance of having an eVAC plan in place for emerging adults.

“As we discover our vocation as a human it helps us feel useful, as we establish our autonomy to give the ability to be free, and as we develop a community around us to fulfil is our basic human need to be loved.”

David - Prof 2

Dr. G. David Boyd is the managing director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to engage emerging adults. He is also the founder of the EA Network, a community of people who serve and love emerging adults.

Anatomy of Generations – by Wrong Hands

I came across this cartoon, and needed to share it with my readers.  There is plenty more laughter at the Wrong Hands website –  Click here.

anatomy of generations

I believe that laughter can be used to build bridges between the generations as long as it is equally given to each age group.  In this comic, as a Gen Xer, I am just happy that the author acknowledges our existence (sniff-sniff).

All joking aside –

There is a need for inter-generational relationships within the church.  Here are some links if you are interested in learning more about how to help your community connect.

David - Prof 2If you are looking for someone to speak to your community or staff about working together, contact Dr. G. David Boyd at

3 Tips for Finding Community

Finding community can be just as arduous a journey as finding Nemo. Especially if you forget people’s names like Dory or cling to your comfort zone like Marlin. Movie metaphors aside, finding community when you’re in a new place requires genuine commitment to the journey.

Especially as an introvert, when I first visit a new church, organization, or other community, I want nothing more than to hide in the back. But lately—much to my surprise—God’s drawn me deeply into community nonetheless. When I reflect on how in the world this has happened, I realize my foray into fellowship came about in roughly three stages.

1. Show up.

Erin S. Lane, author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe, writes that “finding a place to belong seems to depend more on my ability to show up—often and fully—than it does on what happens when I get there. That stuff is important, but that stuff I can’t control.”

Showing up sounds simple—and it is. But it’s also powerful. Choose a community that you could see possibly being part of, and then commit to showing up three-to-four weeks in a row. Through faithful attendance, people will begin to recognize you and you’ll begin to recognize them. People will start to consider you part of the community simply because you’re always there. And maybe you’ll start to consider yourself part of the community too.

2. Speak up.

Check the community’s website or Facebook page if they have one, and then email a pastor, small group leader, or other community leader. Chances are they don’t bite. On the contrary, they’d likely love to grab a bite to eat or cup of coffee with you and discuss how you might get plugged into the community.

In addition, if there’s a question asked in Sunday school, speak up and answer it. If there’s a need for volunteers at the community’s upcoming bake sale, speak up and do it. If there’s a group of people you even somewhat know discussing going to lunch after the meeting, speak up and ask if you could join them. This doesn’t have to involve being in the spotlight at all; it could look like tapping someone on the shoulder and speaking up in a one-on-one or small group context.

3. Keep it up.

After a few months of showing up and speaking up in a recent community, I drove home from a Wednesday night social for the umpteenth time thinking in frustration: “They still don’t know me. Not really.” It’s tempting to compare a current, in-progress community to the remembered intimacy of a past community. But these things take time.

At that few-months mark, a dear friend from college reminded me: “Remember how we were after a few months of friendship? I wouldn’t even let you share my French fries!” (“You’re also a huge germophobe,” I reminded her.)

“Keep it up,” she said. “Keep it up.”

And the Bible says something similar: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

For more thoughts on finding community, check out these books on the subject:

 This post originally appeared on

View More: Powers is Blog Developer at EA Resources. A writer and seminary student at Duke Divinity School, Julia enjoys contributing an emerging adult voice to EA Resources and blogging at her own site

Hillary Clinton Insults Emerging Adults with Tweet – What Your Church can Learn.

Hillary Clinton has relented to months of demands that she relinquish the personal email server she used while secretary of state, directing the device be given to the U.S. Department of Justice.

As soon as I heard the tweet, I knew it would not go over well with Millennials.

This past week, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted this message in order to draw support from younger voters:

Clinton - college debt

The first line is incredible. 

Millennials are concerned about educational  debt.  As student debt loads continue to climb, politicians and church leaders should be aware of the struggles of today’s emerging adults.

The second line is a disaster…

The problem is that the tweet makes an assumption that emerging adults are limited in their ability to communicate with emojis (a word that many people are still learning to say or spell). Emojis originated in Japan, and they are small pictures that are used to display thoughts, or emotions.

Here are a few of the responses to the Tweet:

clinton emojis1

clinton emojis2

Here is the article.

Please do not perceive this article to be a political statement.  I share this article to show churches and parents that we must truly understand Millennials, and not simply make assumptions about their generation.

Three quick take-a-ways:

1.  Millennials do not rely on emojis for their main means of communication.

2.  Millennials want to be treated like adults.

3.  Millennials care about college debt.

Treat Millennials like adults.  They have something to say.  

david in hat - blackDr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  If  he can help you and your community understand the needs and beliefs of emerging adults, please contact him at

Millennials 101

Millennials 101

Are you still struggling to understand who are the Millennials, and what they want?  If so, here is a short clip (7 min) that explains who they are and what they value.

Paul Taylor describes some of the key characteristics of the Millennial Generation which includes:

  • Large Generation – 80 Million
  • Diverse – This is due to the children of immigrants from Latin America and Asia.
  • Disassociated from Institutions including churches, political parties, marriage.
  • Not Narcisstic, but creates social groups around themselves due to changes in technology.

Taylor is the executive vice president of the Pew Research Center, where he oversees demographic, social, and generational research.

EA Resources exists to help church and parents understand Emerging Adulthood.  If our staff can help your community appreciate and minister to emerging adults, contact us at


Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed

Lonely Woman on a Bench - Why Courtship is Fundamentally FlawedI find it amusing whenever a person starts talking about the “Right” or “Biblical” way to find a mate.  If you look through the pages of the Bible, several methods of getting a mate might get you in trouble these days.   Continue reading

Sex in the Church

Sex, Millennials and the Church: Five ImplicationsEarlier this week, I shared an article from Thom Rainer about the changes in the sexual standards and beliefs of Millennials.  While the article shows how things have changed, it doesn’t explore how to respond.

Few Christians doubt that society’s views of sex have changed.  The bigger question is, “How does a church respond?” Continue reading

Why Youth Groups should Require Warning Labels.

Medicines are required by law to warn the user about the risks involved when using them.  Parents and students should know about the risks involved in participating in youth group.

No, I am not talking about the physical danger involved in playing dodgeball in a dark room after four cans of Mountain Dew and no sleep, or drinking strange concoctions mixed in a blender by the youth pastor.  Parents should be warned that an unhealthy social environment for your child might be deadly for your child’s faith.

Youth group is not something that your child has to attend.

God doesn’t command it.

The Bible doesn’t require it.

Many people have flourished spiritually for centuries without it.  Not only is youth group something that your child doesn’t have to attend, youth group could be detrimental to their spiritual health.  

The concept of “youth group” where youth gather alone to do spiritual community and worship really started in the 1940’s with the Young Life movement, and was further developed by the Youth for Christ Movement in the 1950’s and 60’s.  Since that time it appears to have become a necessity for most Western churches.

I was a youth pastor for over twelve years.  I saw the spiritual lives of many teens change as they were introduced to Jesus, and accepted within our youth community.  I am a believer in youth workers.  If they are volunteers, then they are underpaid.  They pour out their energy and lives in order to love and change the lives of teens.  If they are employed staff, then they are under-paid.  They do it because they believe in the Kingdom of God.

However for all their work and effort, youth workers can cannot control the spiritual outcome of their group on your child.  I also believe that if they are honest, they will admit they have seen the negative affect that their ministry can have on adolescents.

1.  Youth group could negatively affect your child’s faith because it is a peer-centered environment.

A peer-centered environment is a community that is built upon a similar age demographic.  While some peer-centered environments may be structured and led by someone outside the age demographic (like youth group), this person cannot control the group. Peers set the standards and values, and control the ethos of the group.  Our schools, sports teams, and churches are built around that concept that peer-centered communities are the best way to build community.

Some individuals thrive in communities based solely on their peers, while others merely survive.  There are even some adolescents who when placed with peers simply shut down.  During my adolescence, I was very involved in youth group, but it was not the peers that helped my faith stay alive as much as my connections with multiple generations.  My grandfather, my Bible teachers, my co-workers, and my youth pastor and his wife were all instrumental in my discipleship process.

While some adolescents perform well in peer-centered groups, this type of environment is not beneficial for all adolescents.  Especially since many of these adolescents are balancing not just one of these groups, but several peer-centered groups at once (including school, youth group, sports teams).   The emotional and social stress of fitting in with multiple social circles can be overwhelming.

2.  A Child’s social development is tied with their faith development.  

When attending youth group, your child’s faith development becomes tied to their social development within the group.   If the experience is good, then it will often result in positive affects on their faith.  However, a negative experience results in negative affects on their faith journey.  Parents should have an understanding of how the social dynamics of youth group affects your child’s faith.

Even if a child has a positive social community at youth group, that stability could disappear overnight (due to a romantic break-up, or fight between friends, or a friend moving away).  If your child’s entire spiritual influence is based solely on this community, then it could jeopardize their spiritual maturation.  Being rejected by a church group can be perceived by an adolescent as being rejected by God.

Parents have often asked if they should make their child go to youth group, but there is not a simple answer to that question.  Sometimes, parents wrongly view participation in youth group as the spiritual solution for a child’s struggles.

In order to avoid these issues, parents should make sure that their children have multiple sources of spiritual influences in their lives.  Here are some questions to ask yourselves:

  1.  Is your child apart of an inter-generational community at your church?
  2. Do they have spiritual aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas who can model faith, and encourage them in the midst of struggles?
  3. Does your child have a friend(s) their age who also claims faith in Christ?
  4. Is your child working with younger children within the church, displaying to them what it means to love others and follow Christ?

If you are seeing healthy spiritual development in your child, then there is no need to change.  However, if you are unsure, and you don’t know why…then maybe it is time to reevaluate.  Warning labels do not mean that no one should use them, but that there are risks of which parents should be aware.

The purpose of this article is not to destroy your faith in the church, but to call parents to reflect and examine how participation in a “Christian” youth group is affecting their child’s spiritual development.

Spiritual community is essential for healthy development, youth group is not.