According to recent research by Barna, a majority of Christians say they came to the faith long before adulthood—usually before the age of 12.
American Pastors Network (APN) says the findings are interesting because they show the link between faith and heritage, but simultaneously, asks APN President Sam Rohrer, what does it mean for the future of the Christian Church in light of the knowledge that more Millennials—today's young parents—are backing away from Christianity.
"What will be the future of the church if we know that 59% of current practicing Christians say their Christian faith was 'passed down' to them from a family member?" said Rohrer, who hosts the popular daily radio program, "Stand in the Gap Today," heard on several hundred stations nationwide. "With more and more millennials leaving the church—in fact, some studies say that, coincidentally, 59% of Millennials have already left the faith—we might find a way to reach the younger generations so they can pass the hope of Christ onto their children."
Rohrer added that a key may be the connection between the older and younger generation, especially among pastors.
"Most older, faithful pastors have a concern for younger pastors but don't always have ways to connect with them," he said. "And younger pastors tend to be divided into two categories: those who don't necessarily see the value with connecting with other generations, or those young, biblically faithful pastors who do long for the opportunity and are honored to be in the presence of those who have sustained, perhaps, a 40-year ministry and have remained true. Many from all age groups who truly want to connect just don't know how."
Barna also found that more than half of survey respondents say they grew up as a Christian (57%) and were Christian at the time of their birth. This response, Barna says, "is revealing either of their theology or of how extensively Christianity permeated their upbringing."
"We must better connect pastors of all generations—both to each other and to younger generations," Rohrer said. "If we don't, how we can expect them to connect with their own people on the importance of having a biblical worldview they can pass on to future generations?"
Rohrer also hosts the daily radio feature, "Stand in the Gap Minute," and is the co-host of the weekly "Stand in the Gap" television program, reaching millions of households on several networks. Read more here.
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