The current generation has faced growing numbers of young people leaving the Church before adulthood. Even after being raised Christian, huge numbers of youth are not staying faithful to their religion once they reach adulthood.
The Barna Group has conducted comprehensive research on young Christians who “drop out.” Inside its book, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church … and Rethinking Faith, the research group details youth departure from faith.
The research was administered between 2007 and 2011 and included national public surveys, interviews, and examinations from about 1,300 people aged 18-29 who were once involved in church activities.
"The reality of the dropout problem is not about a huge exodus of young people from the Christian faith,” David Kinnaman, director of the research, said. “In fact, it is about the various ways that young people become disconnected in their spiritual journey … The conclusion from the research is that most young people with a Christian background are dropping out of conventional church involvement, not losing their faith."
So what could be the solution for a growing generation bored with “conventional Church involvement?”
Technology and social media swarm the lives of our youth - it is inevitable. This current crop of young adults, Generation Y, has experienced massive, game-changing waves of innovation in the way people communicate and access information.
Chris Carberg, founder and creator of Holypop.com, is keeping up with the changes in the development of his new website. He and his co-founders, Scott Basham and Matt Dean, have put together a “powerful and wide-ranging Bible study website” for young adults.
“Everything you need to have a successful Christian life is waiting for you at Holypop. You don’t have to wait until Sunday to get your God fix with some recharging inspiration,” Carberg stated in an interview with The Christian Post. “You just turn on your computer and go to Holypop and you’re immediately surrounded by content that has been prayed over, and delivered absolutely free.”
Holypop was founded in 2008 after feeling led by God to create a website that communicated the Gospel more successfully. Carberg describes Holypop as an “educational community, promoting self-education through a wide array of biblical content.”
A new version of the website went live on Dec. 6.
A Bible Study website is not the most original idea these days, especially with so many resources easily accessible already. But Carberg answered a few question for The Christian Post to detail the uniqueness of Holypop.com.
What makes Holypop different from BibleGateway.com or GotQuestions.org?
I can say without doubt that Holypop is the simplest, cleanest, yet most powerful and wide-ranging Bible study website I’ve encountered. Regarding other websites, they’re doing terrific work advancing the Gospel, and it would be foolish of me to treat them like “competitors”. Each website out there has something unique to give, but what makes Holypop so special is that we’ve developed and secured a dramatic amount of Christian content from top theologians (Dr. Elmer Towns, Dr. Jerry Falwell, and Dr. Harold Wilmington) to steadfast Sunday school teachers (Scott & Joy Basham, as well as Cheri Henderson).
We’re providing tons of answers and valuable Christian resources absolutely free. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve been developing our online Bible for a couple years now, trying to make it the most simple non-nonsense tool for Christians to use. We have many of the most successful Bible translations, as well as multi-lingual translations.
Everything you need to have a successful Christian life is waiting for you at Holypop. You don’t have to wait until Sunday to get your God fix with some recharging inspiration. You just turn on your computer and go to Holypop and you’re immediately surrounded by content that has been prayed over, and delivered absolutely free. Also, while we’ll be supporting advertising, we’re not going to be bombarding you like on some other sites I’ve visited.
But the last, and possibly most important, feature that makes us different is that we’ve designed and implemented everything we do to reach a young audience (aged 13-35), by using modern design and user experience techniques, and testing the site on young Christians who tell us what they do want and don’t want.
Who is your target audience? Non-Christians? New converts? Current Christians?
I’ve always maintained that our target audience is Sinners. Whether the person is PC (Pre-Christian), NC (New Christian) or SC (Steady Christian), our goal is to serve their spiritual needs. Because there will be days when a practicing Christian feels like a New Christian, and other times when New Christians feel like they’re back in their old ways. We have to be ready to counter everything they’re needing with a responsive system that makes living faith a lot easier.
What is your strategy behind capturing the attention of this generation with Holypop? You write on the Holypop blog--Counter Culture, that you use a simplistic model so as not to overbear us with biblical "science," but how do you find this method affective?
Well, it needs to be noted that while we want faith to be simplistic, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t challenging to pursue, and often times frustrating. What Holypop focused on are key foundational/fundamental components of faith. These fundamentals are 1) Private Bible Study and Reflection, 2) Prayer 3) Fellowship and 4) Evangelism (whether by words or actions).
We also believe that as part of Bible Study is researching answers, learning apologetics and the defense of faith, and that’s why we’re going to be partnering with a well-known Creation Science group, sharing their fantastic media with our audience.
We know that young people are being trained in schools today to question everything that faith suggests, and that’s why when we have these church scandals or even just their moms and dads dropping them off at church but neglect to go themselves, they get jaded. We don’t want them to have their parents faith, we want them to have their own, and over the next 6-12 months, we’ll be providing free tools that’ll make doing that easier than ever before.
So while we keep our website and information simple and easy to access, we provide a wealth of information designed to settle young hearts and relieve their doubts. We’re not doing it with blind faith though. We want them to know that God gave us the Bible with every answer imaginable at our fingertips. The answers are there.
What do you think is "wrong" with the way young people are often educated on the Bible today? Why do you think most teens or young adults are not interested in things regarding God these days?
I’m concerned about the emotional expectation that seems to dominate much of popular Christian culture today. Like many things in life, emotion can feel wonderful and bring about a “high”, but when you step back to reality, it’s hard to manufacture again and again, and eventually there’s a burnout. The same goes for legalistic churches and groups that rule with an iron fist and little or no grace. Scripture says that we cannot handle the burden of the law, and again, it leads to burnout.
Teens and young adults have always had a natural inclination to seek out the things of God, but what’s different now is that we’re living in a culture that actively participates in the mocking of faith, and revels in hate toward the faithful. I don’t know that there’s ever been a more stressful time in the life of a young believer than today. When you couple that with the bombardment of sexualized movies, music, and television, it puts having faith to the test at a younger age than in the past.
How has your background as an entertainment professional affected the way you have approached Holypop?
I was a film producer, screenplay & play writer, and actor and I currently write screenplays for Christian media. Holypop is developing a number of feature film concepts and documentaries currently. That is kind of a next-stage plan that Holypop plans to launch into after we've completed our primary foundation.
My background in movies also reminded me that presentation is often what matters most, we knew that there were a lot of websites out there that don’t appeal to young people because frankly, they’re ugly. I say that with all the love in my heart, because audiences are demanding more from their web experience, and that’s what Holypop gives them.
Can we anticipate any new features soon?
We never stop development and we never stop dreaming. When we were in the middle of the redesign, we had an amazing idea for the next step of Holypop, which is to take it from being a website to an interactive tool. I can’t say the specifics yet, but we’re creating a new kind of social network (unlike any that you’ve seen before, and different than you can imagine).
In addition to our development of the interactive Holypop experience, we’ll also be releasing Android and iPhone apps to interact with your Holypop account. We’re calling 2012 our “Year of Expansion”, because we’re going to be releasing all the development tools and goodies that have been in planning for some time now. To build a website that can reach people and successfully compete in a secular world takes a lot of work, and we’ll also be meeting with some investors regarding opportunities to help Holypop explode internationally.
Another cool feature coming soon is our “Pathway” tool, which leads people to Christ using an interactive survey, personalizing their pathway to Jesus Christ.
How can a viewer participate on Holy Pop?
Participating on Holypop is easy. Just visit www.Holypop.com and select the path that interests you. You can choose from “Answers”, “Online Bible”, or “Resources”, and it’ll lead you to another page that’ll offer you plenty to choose from. Or you can use our search engine on the site to search for words in scripture, articles, answers and more. We’re also very active on facebook (www.facebook.com/Holypopcom) Twitter (www.twitter.com/Holypop) and we have an informative blog called Counter Culture about Faith in life, politics, and entertainment (www.counterculture.Holypop.com). And of course you’ll be seeing plenty more features added over the next 6 months.
My co-founders are Scott Basham (web developer) and Matt Dean (creative director, who is raising money for a cool kickstarter project http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mattdean/ears-things-that-hear), and we wouldn’t get anywhere without them. I love these guys. We’re also hoping that NKJV and NIV will be the next to join Holypop’s Bible application.