Europe’s young adults need to hear and see authentic Christianity
A new report which shows the majority of young adults across Europe identify as having no religion is a call to urgent, intelligent, prayer-soaked evangelism.
According to the report by St Mary’s University and the Catholic University of Paris, across Europe young adults aged 16-29 are turning away from all religions, especially Christianity. The picture is diverse, with those in the Czech Republic being the least religious; 91% of that age group saying they have no faith at all, whereas in Poland just 17% define themselves as non-religious. But across the continent the trend is clear to see. Sad to say, the UK sits in fifth place in the secular table with 70% of young adults being irreligious.
The report’s author, Stephen Bullivant, says “With some notable exceptions, young adults increasingly are not identifying with or practising religion… in 20 or 30 years’ time, mainstream churches will be smaller, but the few people left will be highly committed”.
In many ways this is hardly surprising; it is the natural outworking in our society of the spiritual decline that has been going on for decades. What is now changing is that many people, especially the young, have no inclination to identify even culturally as Christian.
We need to be realistic – we are not a ‘Christian country’ and, despite notable exceptions, especially in some University towns, the statistics point clearly to a godless young Britain.
We must be prayerful. It might seem rather trite to say this, but God himself and Christian history tell us that prayer will be the engine of any movement to reverse the tide of spiritual decline and send revival. I am not praying enough for this and I am not alone.
Having prayed, we need to move out of our comfortable, but shrinking, church environment and preach the gospel to anyone willing to listen – to teach and encourage evangelism, especially amongst the young. Think about the Christian young people in our church: They can be the most effective evangelists and apologists for their own age group. Equip them with sold Bible teaching and show them how to show the evidence, answer common objections and point to Jesus.
The statistics are certainly depressing, but God has not changed and we persevere, serving him with joy and hope.