As many as one in five teens is Christian, new study finds

UnsplashAs many as one in six young people are Christian

As many as one fifth of teenagers are 'active followers of Jesus', according to new research.

And one of the things that encouraged them to give their lives to Christ was visits to church buildings, often with their schools.

The poll was carried out by ComRes months ago but has onlly just been released because researchers were so surprised by the results they had them checked and double-checked. 

For years it has been a widespread view among many that attendance among the young is in terminal decline.

The poll was commissioned by Hope Revolution, a Christian organisation that brings churches and young people together to transform communities. Reported in the Telegraph, it found that 21 per cent of those aged between 11 and 18 describe themselves as 'active followers of Jesus' while 13 per cent say they are practising Christians and churchgooers.

Around 13 per cent of teenagers converted after after a visit to a church or cathedral, according to the figures. A fifth said reading the Bible was important, 17 per cent said going to a religious school had had an impact and 14 per cent said they had had a spiritual experience that led them to Christ.

But the influence of a church building was more significant than attending a youth group, going to a wedding, or speaking to other Christians about their faith.

Jimmy Dale, the Church of England's national youth evangelism officer, said his team was 'shocked' by the findings.

He told the Telegraph: 'There was disbelief among the team because it was so high.

'What is really exciting for us is that there is this warmth and openness that we are seeing among young people – they are really open to faith. Things which we would class as old hat methods are some of the more effective ways.

'It's a real wake-up call for the church – we've got lots of young people who are coming into churches with school groups and that's a really integral part of them becoming a Christian.'

Hope Revolution's dream is a growing church, showing Jesus' love and telling the Jesus story, at the heart of every community.

The organisation is working with churches across all denominations to make Jesus known in 2018 and is urging churches to join in making the vision a reality.

Welcoming 100 Christian leaders to Lambeth Palace for the HOPE 2018 launch, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, 'We exist as God's people to enable the world to meet Jesus and then make up their minds; we can't force conversion but we can bring people face to face with Christ. We need to do that and HOPE provides the tools for it – the stimulation and the resources.'