Beauty More Effective in Reaching Teens Than Youth Ministry, Study Shows

People are more likely to explore the truthfulness of Christianity once they see that it is beautiful. I heard a Christian leader make the previous statement not long ago at an evangelism conference. I completely agree. A recent study of youth religious involvement in England seems to affirm this point.

Teens reported that beautiful architecture had a more pronounced influence in their conversion than attending a church service or youth group.  The results were close, but beauty comes out on top with 13% of teens saying that it played a “vital role” in their conversion in comparison to 12% who cited church attendance and 11% for youth group participation.

A Catholic ministry quotes Pope Benedict XVI in an attempt to explain this development:

“The way of beauty replies to the intimate desire for happiness that resides in the heart of every person. Opening infinite horizons, it prompts the human person to push outside of himself, from the routine of the ephemeral passing instant, to the Transcendent and Mystery, and seek, as the final goal of the ultimate quest for wellbeing and total nostalgia, this original beauty which is God Himself, creator of all created beauty.”

While ministry leaders will likely disagree on how to interpret and apply the data from this study, one thing seems certain, religious involvement among teenagers is on the rise in England and beauty has a lot to do with it. In an interview with The Telegraph, Jimmy Dale, officer for the Church of England’s national youth evangelism, said his team was shocked by the findings.  “What is really exciting for us,” Dale explains, “is that there is this warmth and openness that we are seeing among young people – they are really open to faith.”