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Christian students want churches to embrace change, poll says

Wed 20 Jun 2018
By Alex Williams

The majority of Christian students in the UK say a refusal by their church to embrace change is hindering their personal spiritual growth, new research has concluded.

Teaching on sexuality and transgenderism emerged as another of the main concerns younger believers have about their church, the survey found.

Hillary Topp, director of the Student Christian Movement (SCM), which commissioned the research, said the results were not a sign churches ought to shift their theological position.


Speaking with Premier, she explained: "It's about having an open dialogue.

"It's not helpful when churches say, 'this is the teaching on this - and that's that'. What would be better is if we explain why that's the teaching [and] what's the theology that this is grounded in.

"I think it's important that students can ask questions and question some of these things.

"Perhaps, some of the things that some churches feel they can't budge on, other churches feel they can, and they're still following Christ. For me, it's not about churches compromising in any way."

The attitudes of older Christians at church were also named as factors which made faith more difficult for Christian students, according to the findings.

Conducted by the St Mary's Centre - a Christian research institute - the survey sought to establish how Christian students can be best supported in their faith.

Topp also said: "These findings give us an insight into the spiritual lives of the students we support, and also point to the challenges that students face in seeking to live out their faith at university.

"They underline the importance of the kind of community that SCM provides - one in which all are genuinely welcome."

The results, which were based on 267 questionnaires, shall be published in full later this year.

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