Report projects 35 million youth to leave Christianity by 2050
With 35 million youths raised in Christian families projected to disaffiliate from Christianity by the year 2050, youth ministry leader Greg Stier believes churches can't settle for simply slowing down the bleeding.
“How about not just slowing down the bleeding, what if there was a revival that flipped those stats?” he asked. “That is what we are praying for. How do we flip the switch?”
The report titled The Great Opportunity is based on reviews of different reports and surveys examining millennial attitudes toward religion and relies most heavily on four major research efforts.
According to the report’s authors and to Greg Stier, who founded the national youth ministry organization Dare 2 Share and has written several books on the topic, the massive disaffiliation trend over the next thirty years will represent the largest missional opportunity in U.S. history. But to respond to the trend, Stier believes that churches need to reimagine the way they do youth ministry.
“If you were to go back to the retention rate of Gen X from twenty years ago, that would slow down disaffiliation to twenty million young people,” Stier told The Christian Post. “That’s more than the First and Second Great Awakenings and all the Azuza Street Revival and all of Billy Graham’s converts combined.”
The report relies on research efforts like Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study (2007-2014), the Baylor Religion Survey (2007 to 2011), a September 2016 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Gallup Annual Religion Surveys (1992-2016).
“Based on those primary data sources, we built out religious switching scenarios for the next 30 years, using the most up-to-date switching and attitudinal data, harmonising assumptions across primary data sources,” the report explains.