Roughly one in five African Americans, 21%, say they’re not religiously affiliated, according to a recent Pew Research study. For younger African Americans, the rate is even higher. Approximately 28% of Gen Z and 33% of millennials say they’re religiously unaffiliated, compared to 11% of baby boomers and 5% of the silent generation.
Additionally, research shows an increase in young African Americans identifying as spiritual instead of religious. Some say it is due to experiencing church hurt or because they prefer a more individualized approach to faith rather than following a set of organized beliefs and practices.
“American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson continues our “Black Church in Detroit” series conversation on the changing faith practices of young African Americans. Henderson leads a thought-provoking conversation from a different generational perspective with three Detroit ministers: Rev. Larry Simmons of Baber Memorial AME Church, Pastor Semmeal Thomas from City Covernant Church, and Rev. Torion Bridges of Commonwealth of Faith Church.
They talk about what has led young Blacks to accept God but reject religion, what they’re hearing from the younger generation, and how to bridge the generational divides in the Black Church. The group also talks about the church’s communication about Christ, the important role of trust in a young person’s life, and how the history of the Black church may impact the choice to move away from religion.
As the youngest pastor on the panel, Rev. Bridges offers his thoughts on what his generation is thinking and feeling today and their desire to feel safe, loved and empowered by the church.
Subscribe to Detroit Public Television’s YouTube Channel and don’t miss American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.
Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.