Today there’s a new dimension that is reshaping personal spirituality, particularly among younger generations. The advent of the Internet and, more recently, social media have shaped personal habits significantly. The first and last thing most people do every day is check their phones. When they want to know an answer to a question, they “Google it.” Scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds has become a fixture of leisurely activity.
This digital world is the playground of Millennials, or those ages 18 to 29 in this current Barna study. Millennials certainly stand apart in their unsurpassed digital savvy. They’re also in a class of their own when it comes to faith experience and practice.
Yet what happens when the unique spiritual characteristics and technological trends among Millennials collide? The latest study from Barna Group explores just that.
Here are a few highlights from the study to go along with the infographic below:
- According to Barna research, the most common way Millennials are blending their faith and technology is through digital reading of Scripture. It’s an escalating trend, considering there are just as many YouVersion (the free Bible phone app) downloads as there are Instagram downloads. And BibleGateway.com has become one of the top Christian websites today.
- Seven out of 10 of practicing Christian Millennials (70%) read Scripture on a screen. One-third of all Millennials says they read sacred Scripture on a phone or online, demonstrating how broadly the digital trends are shaping this generation.
- More than four out of 10 practicing Christian Millennials say they participate in online conversations about faith, and the same number say they blog or post comments on blogs about spiritual matters.
- More than one in 10 Millennials say they donate to a church or faith organization online at least once a month. The rate is four times higher among practicing Christian Millennials (39%).
For church leaders, the data point to lots of opportunities to engage Millennials spiritually online. This stems from the convergence of two trends: Millennials leaving the Church, and Millennials taking their faith discussions and explorations online. One of the most positive trends among Millennials is that they want faith that is holistically integrated into all areas of life—including their technology. How the Church acknowledges and engages the digital domain—and teaches faithfulness in real-life to young adults as well—will determine much about its long-term effectiveness among Millennials.” – David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group and author of two books on Millennials.