David Kinnaman, President and Strategic Leader of the Barna Group, acted as lead researcher in a study released two days ago entitled What Teenagers look for in a Church. The study gives credence to the fact people who are born over a certain period of time are influenced by a unique set of circumstances including global events, moral and social values, technologies, and cultural and behavioral norms. The result is that every generation has a different way of seeing life. The newest generation, the Mosaics, view online technology's intersection with their spirituality as normative.
As some of the nation’s first digital pilgrims, the research shows that one out of every four teenagers (26%) had learned something about their faith or spirituality online in the last six months. This was true of two-fifths of born again Christian teenagers (39%). Furthermore, one-sixth of teenagers (16%) and one-quarter of born again teens (25%) said they had "a spiritual experience" online where they worshiped or connected with God.
Kinnaman, the author of a newly released book, unChristian, also comments on the gap between how teens live and what they learn at church. Although their world is inundated with choices related to media, movies, television, technology, etc., most churchgoing teens said they rarely recalled learning anything helpful on these topics in church. Perhaps as a result, many teens grow up concluding that Christianity is boring, old-fashioned and out of touch with reality. Rather than simply giving teens do’s and don’ts, Kinnaman concludes that effective youth ministry should help them become engaged, thoughtful Christ followers who have sophisticated, biblical responses to life."