The American Enterprise Institute report titled "Generation Z and the future of faith in America" shows that 34% of Gen Z has no religious affiliation. In fact, almost one out of every five of those surveyed identifies as atheist or agnostic. Additionally, 29% of Millennials do not belong to a faith group, nor do 25% of Gen Xers and 18% of Baby Boomers.
"The majority of young adults and teens identify as nones because they were raised by parents and grandparents that they themselves weren't practicing Christians or committed to church," Alex McFarland of Truth for a New Generation (TNG) tells American Family News.
"Nones" are people of no faith.
McFarland goes on to note separate research that shows 2/3 of Christians came to faith before the age of 18 and that less than 1/4 of current believers came to Christ after the age 21 – statistics he finds especially troubling given that young people have so few examples to follow.
"There are so many people that really have never heard the gospel explained or a trusted voice in their life come alongside and model Christ to them," the apologist laments.
And while there are many effective ministries that focus on reaching young people, McFarland says churches for the most part seem to be on their own when it comes to reaching the older generations for Christ. He notes programs like GriefShare and DivorceCare that reach some, but he believes the church needs to do better.
"We will bend over backwards to make things culturally relevant for young people, but how about making the gospel of Jesus culturally relevant for not-so-young people as well," McFarland poses.