Millennials are on their own level when it comes to following religion through technology.
According to a recent study by Barna, a research organization, people aged 18 to 29 “stand apart in their unsurpassed digital savvy” and are using social and digital media to practice and engage with the religion.
The study outlines four different ways millennials are integrating faith and technology. They’ll read scripture on a cellphone or through the Internet, look at a church or temple’s website, watch online videos about faith and search for spiritual content online.
“The one-way communication from pulpit to pew is not how Millennials experience faith,” the survey said. “By nature of digital connectedness, Millennial life is interactive. For many of them, faith is interactive as well — whether their churches are ready for it or not. It’s an ongoing conversation, and it’s all happening on their computers, tablets and smart phones.”
One major part of this is fact-checking, according to the survey. Christianity Today reported millennials are fact-checking sermons using YouVersion, which is a free Bible for mobile phones and tablets.
Earlier this week, Don Follis wrote a piece for The News-Gazette in Illinois about how digital devices are going to keep growing in churches, especially with millennials.
“While the church historically has used practices of prayer, Scripture reading and gathering on Sunday to worship, the advent of the Internet, and more recently social media, have solidly shaped the faith habits of Millennials,” Follis said.
Millennials grasp on the digital world has led to donations, too. The Barna study said 11 percent of all millennials will donate online for a church or faith organization at least once a month. And 8 percent of millennials will give to non-profits through text messages at least once a month, the Barna study said.
This comes despite millennials being generally unhappy with technology. On Tuesday, USA Today reported young adults are generally unhappy with technology, calling it “dehumanizing."
In general, believers are connecting to their religion through digital and social media more often than before, according to a Deseret News article.
“Social media is becoming a place where people can talk about their religious individuality," said Heidi Campbell, a Texas A&M professor to the Deseret News.
Email: email@example.com, Twitter: @hscribner