Survey finds Gen Z eager to reconnect with faith
Last updated 9/1/2021 at 9:39am | View PDF
WASHINGTON, DC (Pinkston News Service)- It's no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the normal patterns of daily life in America. This disruption has taken its toll on the mental health of millions of Americans - especially for America's youngest generations. Between social distancing, lockdowns and the shift to remote learning, Generation Z is coming out of the pandemic feeling isolated, lonely and worried.
But as we exit the pandemic, these younger Americans are eager to engage with their communities, including their houses of worship and faith communities. They're finding creative ways to stay in touch with the issues that matter most to them, and are hopeful that community leaders like church ministers will help them along.
That's according to a new survey by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, one of the largest college campus ministries in the U.S.
According to the latest national survey of InterVarsity students, 58 percent of Gen Z on college campuses say that feelings of loneliness and isolation over the last 18 months have been one of their greatest struggles, and almost half (48 percent) say the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental and emotional health.
But at the same time, these students are turning to their faith communities for resources to battle their isolation. Roughly 64 percent say that church involvement in their lives is still very important to them, and 71 percent say that fellowship with other members of their local faith community has helped them through the pandemic. And 84% say they intend to reconnect with a campus ministry group during the coming academic year.
These survey results come at a time when fully 9 out of 10 young people nationwide say they have received virtually zero contact from religious leaders during the pandemic. That means that, in spite of the separation and loss of contact that many young people have experienced, Gen Z wants to re-engage with the issues that matter most to them.
InterVarsity's survey also found that the issues most important to young people looking to re-engage are racial justice (38.6 percent) and climate change (29.1 percent).
We still don't know how the pandemic and its mental health impacts will shape the experience of Gen Z Americans. But InterVarsity's survey suggests that faith, community and advocacy on key social issues will play a big part in how Gen Z charts their path forward in the months to come.