According to a remarkable poll conducted on behalf of Religion Media Center over 50% of young people between the ages of 18 to 24 are watching online Church services during the COVID pandemic.
Online services can be viewed on several social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook in the privacy of a person’s home.
The poll was conducted by Savanta ComRes of 2,244 young adults in Britain between July 31 and August 3, 2020.
The survey also revealed 45% of those aged between 18 and 24 and 49% of those aged between 25 and 34 had prayed in July. But what is equally significant is that by August the number praying had climbed to 55%.
Rev Dr Peter Phillips, the director of the Centre for Digital Religion based in Durham, England, called the numbers staggering and added he was shocked by the results.
And what can’t be understated is that while similar polls showed that older people’s interest in online church services waned as the pandemic went on, the same is not happening with young adults whose interest is holding and may even be increasing.
The researchers added that online services seems to fit the comfort zone of young adults who often hide their interest in religion by sitting in the back rows during church services. The online services, that Rev Phillips described as “a pew behind the back pew,” provide young adults a comfortable way of secretly expressing their interest in God.
The survey also revealed that people, who didn’t have a religious background, also found online services a comfortable way to participate.
They are secret believers and for some this is how it starts. We even have a Biblical account of how two secret believers in Jesus ended up fulfilling Bible prophecy concerning Christ.
After Jesus had died on the cross, two believers, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, approached Pilate asking if they could take down Christ’s body for burial. Pilate gave them permission, and because both of them were wealthy, the two provided Jesus with an expensive tomb.
This action fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that the Messiah would die with the wicked but be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9).
But both were secret believers. We are told that Joseph secretly did this because he was part of the Jewish Sanhedrin (Luke 23:50), so he wanted to hide what he was doing from those who played a role in Christ’s crucifixion. And we know earlier that Nicodemus had approached Jesus at night so others would not see his interest in Christ.
And, even though they were secret about their faith, God had a purpose for both of them.
38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus5 by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds6 in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. (John 19:38-39 ESV)
READ: A pew right at the back: how online religion has gone mainline AND More than HALF of young people are praying online during pandemic: ‘Staggering’ new figures show 18-24-year-olds are most likely to turn to God in lockdown