20 April 2023
Christian teens in Australia are open-minded, inquisitive and care about injustice according to recently released data from Christian polling firm Barna Group.
Barna Group, partnered with World Vision Australia, asked 1000 Australian teens how they felt about Jesus, the Bible and making an impact.
Head of Community, Faith and Partnerships for World Vision Australia the Reverend Noddy Sharma said Christian leaders looking to engage with young people needed to understand what kids cared about.
Mr Sharma said it was important to be aware of generational differences.
“There’s a whole different set of circumstances for this younger generation,” he said.
The Barna Group study revealed Australian teens cited mental health, climate change and unemployment as their greatest concerns.
“Climate change is so close to their heart, you go back two or three generations and climate change is not even on the agenda,” Mr Sharma said.
Teenager Eden Saunders said he cared deeply about many social issues. He said his faith influenced his worldview.
“There are a lot of social issues I view through the lens of Christianity,” he said. “Climate change, gender equality, racism.”
Mr Saunders said he valued being part of a youth group.
“It’s good to be around people my age who care about the same stuff I do,” he said.
Inner North Youth Group leader Tom French said he had seen a decline in Bible literacy among youth but that teens were curious to learn more.
“In the early 2000s, there were a lot more kids who knew more about the Bible, but there also more who were aggressively anti-Bible,” he said. “These days, kids seem to be a bit more curious about it.”
Mr French said conversations within the youth group covered a wide variety of topics.
“The Bible speaks to the issues that we’re all facing. And kids engage with that,” he said.
Mr French said while climate change, sex and gender, and global politics were all regular topics of conversation, the teens also had other interests.
“We get a lot of discussion about Minecraft as well,” he said.