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Barna Group Conducts Further Research on the Faith Journeys of Millennials

A recent Pew Research poll recently reported the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans at nearly 20%, calling the trend the "rise of the Nones." The seeming surge reflected an almost 5% jump in just the past five years.

In the months following the Pew poll, a Gallup poll showed similar numbers. And in March 2013, a poll from UC-Berkeley and Duke University also found religious affiliation in the United States to be at its lowest point since tracking began.

According to a Ventura, Calif.-based Barna Group report, "Three Spiritual Journeys of Millennials," a "common thread in every survey has been the significant number of Millennials among these Nones.' The initial Pew survey found that nearly one-in-three members of the Millennial generation (32%) has no religious affiliation. But, who are these faithless twentysomethings? Where did they come from? Did they ever claim faith? And what is it about religion that has left them cold?"

The Barna Group has conducted recent surveys examining 18 to 29 year olds who used to identify themselves closely with the church and with their faith, "but who have since begun to wrestle with that identity." Between high school and turning 30, the survey highlights, 43% of these once-active Millennials drop out of regular church attendancethat amounts to eight million twentysomethings who, for various reasons, have given up on church or Christianity, Barna reports.

"Over half of Millennials with a Christian background (59%) have, at some point, dropped out of going to church after having gone regularly, and half have been significantly frustrated by their faith. Additionally, more than 50% of 18 to 29 year olds with a Christian background say they are less active in church compared to when they were 15," the study finds.

Instead of finding simply "nones" among the Millennials dropping off in church attendance, the Barna poll identified three general types of Millennials important for church leaders to understand: the "Spiritually Homeless," or some 43% of Millennials who were once active churchgoers and who ceased to attend church by their 30th birthdays; "Nomads," or those who walked away from a Christian background but still consider themselves Christian; and "Prodigals," or those who have lost their faith and no longer consider themselves Christian.

To learn more about the findings of the Barna Group's report, visit:


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