A sobering new study from ABC News/Washington Post shows a drastic decrease over the past 15 years in the number of Americans who identify as Protestant and a sharp increase in those who say they have no religious affiliation.
The analysis, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, shows last year, 36 percent said they are Protestant, down from 50 percent in 2003.
In the same time span, the number of Americans who say they have no religion has nearly doubled, to 21 percent.
Of the five groups identified in the study—Protestant, Catholic, other Christians, other religions and no religion—only Protestants suffered a decline.
Among all Protestants, 56 percent currently say they’re evangelical or born-again; that has held essentially steady since 2003, with virtually equal declines in the number who say they’re either evangelical or non-evangelical Protestants, down 7 and 6 points, respectively.
The largest shifts during this 15-year period is among young adults (age 18 to 29) with 35 percent now saying they have no religious affiliation.
Reasons for the decrease of American Protestants
Greg Stier, Founder of Dare 2 Share, says there are a lot of reasons for the decline, but one that stands out is youth ministry is stuck in the ’80s.
“Teenagers today are not necessarily looking for a place to hang out like they were back then. But we are stuck with the same old ‘Games, pizza, short lesson, more games’ concept that we have done for decades. The typical teen, between academics, athletics and electronics, is far too busy to just go hang out and play a few games and hear a little challenge.”
He thinks one solution would be more mission trips, similar to what Mormon youth participate in.
“If Christian young people are given a vision for a mission now (not just when they graduate) to reach their peers with the life-changing message of Jesus, their faith too will be sealed and steeled.”
Numerous studies have documented the exodus and looked for reasons why young adults are losing their faith.
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Source: Church Leaders