The Pew Forum recently issued a report on religious attitudes among the so-called "Millennials" in the U.S. These are people born between 1980 and 1991. The report is part of series of reports by Pew about this generation. You can read the entire report here. In summary, this generation of people (currently aged 18-29) are no less likely to believe in God or an afterlife that previous generations. In fact, by some measures they are even more "spiritual" than the generation that preceded them (Gen-X). They even report praying with a frequency that closely tracks with how previous generations prayed when they were that age. The big difference is that Millennials have less affiliation with any particular faith group. In other words, they believe in God, but not the organized church (or synagogue, for that matter).
Welcome to the new, post-denominational world of Christianity. Young people believe in God and don't mind praying, but they don't necessarily want to belong to a group or be boxed into a particular tradition. This is a trend that I've heard a lot about, of course, and it's central to the Emerging Church/Fresh Expression movements. However, it's nice to see some real data to back it up.
Reading this report just re-confirms that COTM needs to develop some projects along these lines. The River, Sanctuary, The Bridge, and others ought to give us encouragement that we can gather a group of Christians together in downtown Toronto. "Aslan is on the move," as some of my churchy friends like to say, but are we moving with him?