December 1, 1999

Probability of professing faith
in Christ drops off after age 14

___VENTURA, Calif. (RNS) --The probability of people accepting Jesus Christ as Savior drops off dramatically after age 14, a new study by the Barna Research Group has found.
___Data from a nationwide representative sampling of more than 4,200 young people and adults indicate that youth from ages 5 through 13 have a 32 percent probability of accepting Christ as Savior. Young people from the ages of 14 through 18 have a 4 percent likelihood of making that choice, while adults ages 19 and older have a 6 percent probability of doing so.
___The data challenge the widely held notion that the teenage years are a prime time for evangelistic activity.
___"The statistics are eye-opening because they show how little evangelistic impact we are having in America upon teenagers and adults," said George Barna, president of the evangelical Christian firm. "However, that does not mean teenagers and adults cannot be reached with the gospel. It simply challenges the approaches currently used to reach those individuals."
___Over the years, other Barna studies have shown that a large majority of Christians accept Jesus Christ as Savior before reaching the age of 18. This study specifically calculates people's probability of doing so at different stages of life.
___Barna also said his firm's research "has consistently shown that between the ages of 18 and 24, we lose a very large percentage of young people who had been regulars at church."
___The latest research was based on three surveys of adults and two surveys of youths.


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