Global Study Shows That Young People Around the World Say Christians Do a Poor Job of Representing Jesus Christ

DALLAS (BP) – Teenagers have favorable opinions of Jesus but find Christians less loving than the Savior, the Barna Group found in a global study of 25,000 teenagers in 26 countries.

The gap between the number of teens who have positive perceptions of Jesus but negative perceptions of Christians is not surprising, Barna CEO David Kinnaman said Oct. 5 in a webinar exploring the findings.

“Especially as we look at non-Christians, there would be greater sort of gaps here the church has to look at,” Kinnaman said. “So how do we represent Jesus authentically? How do we help close the gap?

“And remembering that we can’t be perfect, but I think it’s even important for us to help young people understand and modify their expectations, that you’re likely going to be disappointed with Christians. And why does that mean that you still need to put your trust in Jesus?”

Barna surveyed youth ages 13-17 and presented the study as insight to help the global church engage with teens in meaningful ways.

In other key findings, about half of teens of all faiths (47 percent) believe Jesus was crucified, one third (33 percent) believe He arose from the dead and the majority of teens (59 percent) are very or somewhat motivated to learn more about Jesus, Barna said in releasing the first volume of its 2021 study “The Open Generation.” Many teenagers who identify as Christian haven’t necessarily made a personal profession of faith.

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Source: Baptist Press