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Millennials—American adults ages 18-29—are much less religious than older generational groups, according to a new study released in February by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The study found that one in every four Millennials do not affiliate with any particular faith—making the percentage of unaffiliated Millennials a bit higher than that of Generation X members when they were the same age (20 percent in the 1990s), and considerably higher than when Baby Boomers were young (13 percent in the 1970s).

Not affiliating with a particular faith is one thing. But what about spiritual or religious practice in general? The statistics aren’t much better.

Less than half of adults under 30 say they pray every day, compared to more than two-thirds age 65 and up. Only 45 percent of Millennials believe religion to be important in their lives, compared to almost 6 in 10 of those age 30 and older.

Millennials are also less convinced of God’s existence than prior generational groups—only 64 percent of young adults say they are certain God exists. Even young adults who do believe in God don’t have the same views of older Christians. Only 47 percent of young evangelicals, researchers discovered, interpret the Bible literally.

The study did reveal some good news, however. On topics such as the belief in life after death, and the existence of heaven and hell, the differences in statistics between generations were negligible. And among Millennials who said they do affiliate with a religious group, 37 percent described the intensity of their affiliation as “strong”—that’s even higher than Boomers, 31 percent of whom said the same when they were young.

What is The Foursquare Church doing to address the spiritual needs represented by the Millennial Generation? Kelly Fellows, national director of the denomination’s NextGen Ministry, is optimistic about reaching the young adult crowd.

“Throughout the ages, God continually challenged the living generation to pass on ‘His Ways’ to the next generation,” Kelly told Foursquare.org in response to his review of the Pew Forum study. “Based on current reports, it is apparent that this current generation stands on the precipice of just such a challenge. Foursquare NextGen is answering this call of God by intentionally working with churches and families to develop a holistic, integrated approach to reaching and discipling an entire generation, from cradle to college.”

To read the full Pew Forum study, log on to www.pewforum.org. For more information on Foursquare’s NextGen Ministry, visit www.foursquare.org/youth.

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By: Bill Shepson, a Foursquare credentialed minister and freelance writer in Los Angeles

is a credentialed minister and freelance editor living in Sacramento, Calif.
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