Five Myths about Emerging Adult Faith

New research on 20-somethings gets past the hype and offers a reason to hope.

If you want to rile up church leaders, drag out dubious statistics about how many Christians fall away from the faith after high school. We fear for our youth, that they'll rebel against what their parents and churches taught when they leave home and the youth group.

But what if we're wrong? What if our particular fears about "emerging adulthood," the period between the ages of 18 and 29, are unfounded? The National Study of Youth and Religion provides us with a treasure trove of valuable information based on interviews with thousands of emerging American adults. Noted sociologist Christian Smith has teamed with Patricia Snell to analyze the data and publish Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults, a follow up to the groundbreaking 2005 book, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.

Myth 1

Emerging adults serve out of concern for the common good.

College campuses are wallpapered with fliers promoting service opportunities. Churches ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Doing Justice: The Gift No One Wants
Doing Justice: The Gift No One Wants
Making things "right" inevitably strikes many people wrong. What's with that?
From the Magazine
Hope Is an Expectant Leap
Hope Is an Expectant Leap
Advent reminds us that Christian hope is shaped by what has happened and what’s going to happen again.
Editor's Pick
How Culture Shapes Sermons
How Culture Shapes Sermons
Recent books on culturally distinct preaching challenge misconceptions and equip diverse pastors to better address a multiethnic world.
close