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Sacred Agents #113
Something remarkable is happening among Australia’s young people. They’re exploring church. The 2021 Australian Community Survey1 found that while about 1 in 5 Australians attend a religious service at least monthly, among young adults (aged 18-34) it’s very nearly 1 in 3. That’s remarkable!
The same proportion of these young adults (17%) as seniors 65+ (17%) attend weekly. But among Australia’s seniors, there are only a further 2% who attend less than weekly but at least monthly. To put it simply, Australian seniors are either rusted on or never there. But among young adults, there’s almost just as many again (15%) fringe attenders as there are weekly regulars.
Some of this may represent the fruit of children’s, youth, chaplaincy, camping and support ministries over the last decade. If you know someone who’s been investing in sharing God’s love with young people – give them a pat on the back. Their work is a long investment, and they need our encouragement and support.
Some of it may also represent a thirst in that generation. “People don’t pick grapes from thornbushes” Mt7:16 and young people are looking for real meaning, belonging, purpose and identity. Why are they coming to church? Because they’re not idiots. Why go to an oasis in a desert?
But most of all, we should highlight this as a great – and urgent – opportunity. A huge number of young adults, often brought by their Christian friends, are right there on the fringe. Are we being sure to welcome and include them? Are we sharing our message with them and giving plentiful opportunities for questions and exploration. Are we giving them opportunities to serve others alongside us and taste the noble goodness of God’s kingdom?
And finally – we all know that young people tend to hunt in packs. This is a statistic that worth sharing around! It might give believers of all ages more confidence to invite yet more, knowing that so many other young Aussies are checking out Jesus. You could do worse that to raise this encouraging information at your next members’ meeting and ask what steps your church could take to invite, welcome and include this generation so full of potential.
1Conducted by NCLS Research. Full report: https://www.ncls.org.au/articles/young-people-most-frequent-attenders-at-religious-services/
Please support the Crossover Spring Appeal. Crossover is funded entirely by donations from Australian Baptists who care about sharing Jesus. We’re praying and working towards seeing twice as many baptisms each year in our movement by the end of the decade – more and more Australians coming to know and follow Jesus. If that excites you like it excites us, then please add your support at crossover.org.au
Andrew Turner is the Director of Crossover for ABM and author of Fruitful Church and Taking the Plunge
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash