One in six young people are practicing Christians, new figures show, as research suggests thousands convert after visiting church buildings.
The figures, show that more than one in five (21 per cent) people between the ages of 11 and 18 describe themselves as active followers of Jesus, and 13 per cent say they are practising Christians who attend church.
The study, commissioned by Christian youth organisation Hope Revolution Partnership and carried out by ComRes, suggested that levels of Christianity were much higher among young people than previously thought.
Research carried out by church statistician Dr Peter Brierley in 2006 suggested church attendance among teenagers was less than half of this, with 6 per cent of 11-14 year-olds and 5 per cent of 15-18 year-olds attending church.
Around 13 per cent of teenagers said that they decided to become a Christian after a visit to a church or cathedral, according to the figures.
The influence of a church building was more significant than attending a youth group, going to a wedding, or speaking to other Christians about their faith.
Jimmy Dale, the Church of England’s national youth evangelism officer, said his team had been “shocked” by the results.
The research was carried out in December but was not released until now because analysts thought such a high figure could not be accurate.
But another study recently released by Christian group Youth for Christ showed similar results, suggesting that a surprisingly high number of young people still describe themselves as Christian.
Mr Dale said: “There was disbelief among the team because it was so high.
“What is really exciting for us is that there is this warmth and openness that we are seeing among young people – they are really open to faith,” he said.
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