Why is Generation Z more open to faith? They don't have the church baggage

Young people in the UK are more open to faith because they don't have the preconceptions about church that their elders do, according to Birmingham minister Rachel Hughes.  

Young people don't have the preconceptions about church their elders do, says Rachel Hughes.

With her husband Tim, Rachel Hughes is lead pastor of Gas Street Church in Birmingham, which has a vibrant congregation of younger people.

They were interviewed by Dr Krish Kandiah in connection with the launch of his book Faitheism and a survey showing post-millennials or 'Generation Z' are more positive about faith than older generations.

Rachel said: 'They don't have some of the baggage of growing up in church, particularly if that was a negative experience. I think of our generation and that phrase 'innoculation against faith'.

She said she talked to her peers about church and 'I can almost see that they are conceiving this idea of what church is like. And I'm like, no no no, it's not that, it's not what you experienced when you were 10 at school, it's not what you were dragged along to, something very traditional, or something that was unappealing to children or young people. Church doesn't have to be like that.

'And I think the generation that you're talking about...they don't have a bunch of that baggage. So when they come to church there's a clean slate and they're taking it at face value, which is great.'

Tim Hughes said another reason for younger people to be drawn to the church was that they had a passion for justice. 'People want to live livves that really count,' he said. In the face of pressing social issues and cuts to council budgets, he said, there would be 'faith groups, particularly groups of churches, a group of people who are willing to help, get involved, serve, so I think that's a very compelling cause for people to get behind'.

Both of them suggested conversation rather than confrontation was important. 'That humble debate, that conversation, can become a much more powerful way of actually journeying and realy understanding better,' said Tim.

Rachel added: 'We don't always do a great job of listening. Just sitting and listening to someone else's story, and asking them the questions, I think that is really powerful.'

Faitheism is published by Hodder, price £14.99.