Nelson Musonda - Author
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What Our Young People Think About Church.

We surveyed 203 young people in the church and what they said will shock you.
Nelson Musonda
Written by:
Nelson Musonda
Published on:
What Our Young People Think About Church.
Updated on:
May 1, 2023

Every church takes pride in its vibrant youth ministry. They say it is a great indicator of the church's future.

We especially are proud when we see our young people participating in church programs.

Parents want them to attend church to form lasting relationships with fellow believers. The church leaders want to ensure the youth are trained to lead the church in the future, and the Pastors want to ensure that the youth get a strong spiritual base.

It is no doubt that we all want what’s best for the youth but the question is; are we really giving them what they need?

Do we know what our young people think about church?

Recently my church had a good youth-day discussion that prompted me to dig deeper into the issues our young people brought up, and I decided to run an online survey.

About The Survey

Please note that the survey here is by no means scientific.

My goal for the survey was to:

  1. Discover their needs and pain points
  2. Find out what our young people think about church
  3. Discover what their solution to the problems are
what our young people think about church survey
What our young people think about church- survey

Below are the questions I asked the young people. I have also included a short explanation of why I asked the question.

It is important to note that in this online survey, the participants were not required to enter their names or contact information.

We also did not require participants to indicate what ethnicity they were or what church they belonged to. However, we created two separate surveys for two local churches in the Inland Empire with the same exact questions.

This survey started out as a local project after a discussion during the Youth Day Program. I wanted to give the young people a safe, uninterrupted space to express their feelings about the church.

The questions I asked were generated from observing some of the issues the young people brought up during the discussion, and the questions were mostly open-ended for the purpose of freewriting.

How The Survey Was Administered

I created the survey in Responssuite - an online survey software that made it easy for me to quickly create and send out the survey link via chat and social media.

There are so many other great survey tools you can use, but I used the Response Suite because I’ve used it in the past.

After running the survey with my local church, I got 18 responses within a day, and the results were shocking. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and so I decided to run another survey with the youth from another church so I could compare the results.

The results from the second survey were surprisingly similar to the first one. We then decided to open it up to other young people from different churches around the US, and the results were similar across the board.

I think we have some issues here that need everyone's attention. You see we are all happy to see a vibrant youth ministry and we take pride when we see them participate in the church programs.

Our young people are involved in music, media, pathfinder, and every aspect of the church except leadership.

Despite their consistent presence at every church service and event, over 50% of the young people we surveyed have neutral or negative feelings about the church.

Table of Contents

In this article, I present the questions and responses from 203 young participants. I hope we can use this information to learn more about what our young people think about church and hopefully develop a way to help them.

Above all, I pray that you run your own survey to help you understand what your local young people think about the church so you can serve them better.

We asked 203 of our young people what they think about church, and here is their response.

Question # 1 - What is your general feeling about the church right now?

According to the Pew Research Center, four in ten millennials now claim no affiliation to organized religion.

Even though young people leaving the church is not new, some argue that this time is different, and we may never see them in church again.

If you don’t believe me check out some of the community sites like quora.com and Facebook to see what our young people are saying.

This question was important because it gives us a general idea of what young people feel about church.

what our young people think about church
Survey question - what is your general feeling about the church?

Over 50% of unsatisfied young people are a bit too much,h especially if we are training them to be ambassadors of the church.

Question # 2 - How likely are you to recommend our church to a friend?

The church spends a lot of time teaching and preparing young people to be church ambassadors. They are to go out and bring people into the church.

The question of how likely you are to recommend our church to a friend speaks to how well we are doing as a church. If our young ambassadors are unhappy with our church, how do we expect them to go out and bring others to church?

Recommend church to your friend
Survey question - How likely are you to recommend our church to a friend

The results show only 35% of the young people surveyed are comfortable enough to bring their friends to church.

Question # 3 - If you were to rate the quality of your church service, what score would you give it out of 10?

This was a tricky question to answer because it was not specific, but I wanted the young people to wonder as far as they could.

I was shocked by what I read, and I bet you’ll be shocked too.

Rate your church service
Survey question - Rate your church service

Here we got 100% no response, and I am not sure what this means, but I think it’s more negative than positive. You must read the rest of the results to understand why I say so.

Question # 4 - Is our church meeting your spiritual needs?

I remember my parents asking me, “What did you learn today?” after every church service. I think it’s safe to say that I paid attention to the sermon so I could answer the question.

It’s different these days because the church is not only full of young people but young people with cell phones. They sit behind the church while the adults occupy the front seats.

I am not the one to say what they do on cell phones but I have seen them put the cellphones away when there’s something interesting is happening.

The question we should ask is, do young people get on cell phones because the sermons are not resonating with them? or their cell phones are just more interesting than anything else?

The answers to this question were similar across the board, as shown below.

Is church meeting your spiritual needs?
Survey question - Is church meeting your spiritual needs?

It is important to note that some churches scored very low on this one. In one case almost 100% of the young people say NO.

Question # 5 - Is our church addressing issues you face every day? i.e. relationships, sex, health, finances etc.

One of the biggest complaints from young people is that the church is not meeting their needs.

During the youth-day meeting, I referred to above; it was clear that the youth wanted to church to address much more than spirituality.

I added this question because I wanted to find out what was important to them regarding topics they wanted the church to address. The first part of this question was a yes or no answer.

what our young people think about church addressing issues
Survey question - is church addressing your everyday issues?

Question # 6 - What topics would you like the church to address?

The following are some topics our young people wanted the church to address. To be fair to the church, some young people said the church already talks about these topics, but they would like more of it.

I have written another article that Diggs deeper into the topics our young people want the church to address.

Topics the church should address
Survey question - what topics should the church address?

Question # 7 - What is the greatest benefit of attending your church?

In this question, I wanted to mix it up. I wanted young people to think about good things happening at their church.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side.

I wanted the participants to consider why they attended one church and not the other. The answers I got shocked me, and you will see why.

Benefits of attending your church
Benefits of attending your church

The results above show that people come to church for various reasons, and the greatest mistake we can make is to assume they are there for the same reasons as we are.

Knowing this information will help you nurture your members on a personal level and also meet their needs.

Question # 8 - If you could change one thing about our church, what would it be? Please write what it is and how to fix it.

For some reason, we always strive to point out what’s going wrong even if we do not have the solutions to the problems.

In this question, I wanted the participants to think about solutions to the problems they were presenting. What would they do if they were in charge? Here are some responses I got.

What things could you change?
What things could you change?

Young people have some great ideas that need to be heard.

Question # 9 - What's the number one reason you attend your particular church?

It is a fact that people are more mobile today than at any time in history. Therefore they tend to attend the church they like even if it’s 50 miles away.

In this question, I wanted to continue the same positive vibe to help young people think about why they attend a particular church and not the other.

I know that most young people will attend the church their parents attend, but they may leave at the first chance unless they see the value in that church.

Here is what they said

Reasons why I attend church
Reasons why I attend church

One can argue that young people go to church for the wrong reasons, but that’s their reality. The truth is that our young people try to find something to hold on to, and friends, music, and the community seem to be those things.

My Final Thoughts

The information should make every church member and leader think. We all should rethink our evangelism strategy to ensure no one is left behind.

Indeed, young people always complain about the church; yes, they’ve always left it, but they return at some point.

You are right, but this time is different. We now have the internet where people are consuming non-denominational and religious-free gospel.

Our young people are joining online communities they identify with and where like-minded individuals value them.

We now say, “There’s a group for that.” you can find a group on Facebook that is dedicated to the very thing you’re struggling with.

If you are worried about the church's future and want to do something about it, start by listening to the young people.

I know that we won’t be able to give them everything they want, and that's ok.

They say that they give young people what they elicit and need. Right? Even that statement requires you to know what they want and need.

I really hope that you disagree with the information I present in the article. I pray this information prompts you to prove this wrong and run your survey.

At the end of the day, I want us to create an environment where our young people can freely express their feelings and needs. Because only then can we fully engage and impact their lives.

Run a survey today and your future church will thank you

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Nelson Musonda
Written by

Nelson Musonda

Hi my name is Nelson Musonda, founder of delmethod.com, husband, father of 4, media designer, digital evangelism consultant, and blogger. You can follow me on twitter , instagram or facebook.

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