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U.K. Christian Students Want Churches to Be Open to Change

A recent survey found that many Christian students in the U.K. want churches to embrace change.

Churches that are headstrong at practicing traditional tenets are part of the reason young people are alienated from their faith. Some say the church’s resistance to change hinders the youth’s spiritual growth, reports Premier.

It’s not helpful when churches say, ‘this is the teaching on this – and that’s that’. What would be better is if we explain why that’s the teaching [and] what’s the theology that this is grounded in. —Hillary Topp, Director of the SCM

The Student Christian Movement (SCM) commissioned the study which was conducted by the St. Mary’s Center, a Christian research institute. Analyzing the data from 267 questionnaires, the study showed that the younger believers are concerned at how the church handles teachings on sexuality and transgenderism.

Director of the SCM, Hillary Topp, explained that the findings do not suggest that the church compromise its theological position, but recommend the church to have a discussion with the young ones.

“It’s not helpful when churches say, ‘this is the teaching on this – and that’s that’. What would be better is if we explain why that’s the teaching [and] what’s the theology that this is grounded in,” said Topp.

Christian students also said that the attitude of older Christians at church is another factor why it’s challenging for the young ones to practice their faith.

“These findings give us an insight into the spiritual lives of the students we support, and also point to the challenges that students face in seeking to live out their faith at university,” added Topp.

The results of this survey support the findings of a previous study of the Church of England  which showed a decline of churchgoers from 2006 to 2016.

Rev. Professor Anthony Bash from Durham said there are fewer worshippers going to church, but it didn’t mean a loss of interest in spirituality. Young believers, especially Christian students, hunger for spiritual knowledge and the church has to cater its services to fit both the older and younger members of the church.


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