This Week on American Black Journal:

A noticeable trend has been growing among Black Millennials and Gen Zers. Many younger African Americans are increasingly turning away from traditional organized religion and towards a more personalized approach to faith. This shift reflects broader patterns identified in a 2021 Pew Research survey, which surveyed over 8,600 Black adults nationwide and found that young Black adults are not only less religious but also less engaged with predominantly Black churches compared to their older counterparts.  

Despite maintaining a higher level of religiosity compared to other racial/ethnic groups in their generation, young Black Americans are demonstrating a growing inclination towards individualized spirituality. The survey data reveals a significant decrease in reliance on prayer, lower attendance at religious services, and a diminished emphasis on the importance of religion in their lives. A striking 33% of Black Millennials and 28% of Gen Zers are religiously unaffiliated, contrasting sharply with the 5% of the Silent Generation. 

For American Black Journal’s “Black Church in Detroit” series, guest host Orlando Bailey of BridgeDetroit engages in a thought-provoking discussion with three Detroit ministers — Rev. Kenita Harris of Detroit Bible Tabernacle, Minister Mikiah Keener of Triumph Church, and Pastor Sonny Smith of Detroit Church about the evolving faith practices of young African Americans and the importance of everyone living out their faith. 

They also explore the younger generation’s desire for leadership roles in the Black church, their commitment to racial and social justice, and their call for the church to actively address societal injustices, particularly in the wake of events like the deaths of George Floyd and other unarmed Black individuals at the hands of the police. 

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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.