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Thousands of young people in UK are converting to Christianity after church visit, says new study

(Wikimedia Commons/Immanuel Giel)A view of Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, United Kingdom.

A new study has shown that thousands of young people in Britain are converting to Christianity after visiting church buildings.

The research, commissioned by Christian youth organization Hope Revolution Partnership and conducted by ComRes, indicated that 13 percent of teenagers made the decision to become a Christian after a visit to a church or a cathedral.

The figures revealed that 21 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 18 describe themselves as active followers of Jesus, and 13 percent say they are practicing Christians who attend church.

The study was conducted in December but was only released recently after verification of its data and conclusions. According to The Telegraph, the analysts thought that such a high figure could not be accurate, but another study released by Christian group Youth for Christ showed similar results, suggesting that many young people still describe themselves as Christian.

"There was disbelief among the team because it was so high," said Jimmy Dale, the Church of England's national youth evangelism officer.

"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 added.

In 2006, a study conducted by church statistician Dr. Peter Brierley showed that only six percent of people aged between 11 and 14 and five percent of people between the ages of 15 and 18 attended church.

The latest study suggested that prayers or visiting churches are more effective than newer methods, such as youth groups and courses like Youth Alpha, in attracting children to the church.

One in five said that reading the Bible was an important part of their decision to convert to Christianity. Seventeen percent said going to a religious school had contributed to their decision, while 14 percent said a spiritual experience led them to join the faith.

"Things which we would class as old hat methods are some of the more effective ways," Dale said. "It's a real wake-up call for the church – we've got lots of young people who are coming into churches with school groups and that's a really integral part of them becoming a Christian," he went on to say.

The Church of England also saw an increase of 14 percent in the number of people who are interested in becoming priests. As many as 543 men and women are expected to begin their studies to join the priesthood at colleges across England this autumn.

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