How Will Millennials Raise Children in Today’s Complex Culture?

How Will Millennials Raise Children in Today’s Complex Culture?

New Barna Research Reveals Pastors’ Concerns: American Pastors Network Weighs In

February 24, 2020

PHILADELPHIA—What’s on the heart of America’s pastors? What are their concerns, fears, worries and aspirations for their churches?

New Barna research sheds light on these very questions, and the American Pastors Network (APN) is using the information to get a better sense of the priorities of the pastors they serve.

The research found that of all pastoral concerns, the top—at 51%—was reaching a younger audience.

APN President Sam Rohrer says this revealing response is likely due to several reasons.

“It’s not surprising that pastors are most concerned about reaching the young generation,” Rohrer said. “From a very practical standpoint, they are the future of the church. They will be making business, education and political decisions for years to come. Secondly, additional Barna research shows that the number of millennials who hold a biblical worldview is miniscule, at just 4%. Therefore, there’s an urgency to bring this young generation back into the church’s fold and to equip them with the tools needed to know their own faith and share it with others. And third, pastors have the serious task of ministering to young adults who are raising children of their own in a very complex culture. As these young families grow, a biblical worldview and sound faith is of utmost importance.”

For decades, Barna has conducted research specifically on U.S. church leaders, uncovering what they and others believe about their role in the church, as well as shedding light on their concerns and aspirations for both the local church and the church in the U.S.

The recent findings are part of Barna’s State of the Church 2020 project, which discovered the following insights when presented with a list of possible challenges facing their church today:

  • Half of Protestant pastors noted that “reaching a younger audience” (51%) is a major issue for their ministry. Just over one-third of pastors (34%) marks this statement as a top three concern for their church, with 12% noting it as the top concern.
  • Half of pastors also agree that “declining or inconsistent outreach and evangelism” is a major issue facing their local church (50%). Of all the pastors who affirm this statement, 2 in 5 (40%) say it falls within their top three concerns, with 14% agreeing it is their largest concern.
  • “Low spiritual maturity among churchgoers” (27% in 2017 vs. 8% in 1992) has been an increasing pain point for pastors over the years. Meanwhile, the practice of evangelism has fallen out of favor even with young adults who are practicing Christians.
  • Overall, other top concerns include “declining or inconsistent volunteering” (36%), “stagnating spiritual growth” (34%), “declining attendance” (33%), “biblical illiteracy” (29%), “declining or unpredictable giving patterns” (28%), “lack of leadership training and development” (23%), “not reflecting the demographic of the community” (21%) and “divisions within the church” (12%).

As pastors hopefully help guide the prayer lives of their congregants, APN hopes thousands will join the ministry for its national prayer movement called “52 Tuesdays,” in which the faithful from around the country will come together to pray for the moral and spiritual renewal of our nation every Tuesday leading up to Election Day 2020.

This dedicated season of prayer not only addresses the important 2020 presidential election but also other topics close to Christians’ hearts. Prayer warriors nationwide can add their name to the growing “52 Tuesdays” list here.

Rohrer, along with Pennsylvania Pastors Network Executive Director Gary Dull and North Carolina Pastors Network President Dave Kistler, hosts the popular daily radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today,” which airs on over 400 radio stations nationwide; many carry the show live from noon to 1 p.m. ET. The trio invites cultural experts to the show to discuss a variety of pressing topics and headlines from a biblical and constitutional perspective. Archived programs can be viewed here; find a station here. Rohrer also hosts the daily short radio feature “Stand in the Gap Minute, and “best of” shows from the week are broadcast on “Stand in the Gap Weekend.”

Likewise, “Stand in the Gap TV” considers transcending complex and divisive cultural issues, seemingly difficult to navigate, from a biblical worldview perspective while bringing clarity to cultural confusion and making sense of the nonsense around us.

View the media page for APN here, which also details information about “Stand in the Gap” radio programming. For more information on APN, visit, its Facebook page or follow APN’s Twitter feed, @AmericanPastors. For information about forming a state chapter of APN, contact


To interview an American Pastors Network representative, contact, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or ext. 102.