Reaching out to young people is a challenge for many pastors - survey


American pastors are worried about reaching out to young people, new research by Barna has revealed. 

In a recent survey of 547 Protestant pastors, around half (51%) said that "reaching a younger audience" was a major challenge for their ministry. 

Around a third (34%) said that this was among their church's top three concerns, while for more than one in 10 (12%), it was the number one concern. 

For half of those surveyed, "declining or inconsistent volunteering" was a major challenge, while a third (34%) revealed worries about "stagnating spiritual growth". 

Nearly a quarter (23%) said they were concerned about a "lack of leadership training and development". 

When asked about the challenges they felt were facing the wider church scene in the US, nearly three quarters (72%) said "watered down gospel teachings", while two thirds said "culture's shift to a secular age". 

The survey revealed a generational gap, with pastors under the age of 45 less likely to be concerned about the secular culture (50% vs 73%). 

Well over half (58%) of all those surveyed were concerned about "addressing complex social issues with biblical integrity". 

A previous study by Barna in 2017 found that only 15% of senior pastors were aged 40 or older.  In that study, over two thirds (69%) of the American pastors surveyed felt that "it is becoming harder to find mature young Christians who want to become pastors".