I’m a stats guy. Much can be learned and determined in numbers. A website that has been valuable in teaching, vision, leadership, discipleship, etc. is www.barna.org. There you can find valuable research in spiritual surveys and studies.
Recently, the Barna group performed a study on whether America is truly a “Christian Nation”. If you are a member, deacon, elder, Sunday school teacher, pastor….or even thinking of going to church, you should read this.
For youth workers, there are strong implications for youth ministry here, especially in this statement: “Leading the charge in the move to customize one’s package of beliefs are people under the age of 25, among whom more than four out of five (82%) said they develop their own combination of beliefs rather than adopt a set proposed by a church.”
Here are the implications for youth ministry that come to mind:
- The church cannot operate in a way that the younger generation will just be “grandfathered” into their faith.
- Students do not want to be spoon fed spirituality. In fact, they shouldn’t be. Sunday schools, youth groups, student ministries should all be operated in a way where the material is presented (Biblically), and the student must be faced with the decision, rather than always giving them the answers.
- Application in lessons is bigger now than ever before.
- Encourage them to devolop an “independent faith”, seperate from their parent’s faith. So when they leave the house, they won’t leave the church too!
- Finally, and possibly most importantly, do not preach/teach watered down faith. Preach the real-deal gospel and Christian living. God’s Word is not a smorgasboard where you can pick and choose what you want to follow…so we shouldn’t present it that way either.
How does this barna research affect your ministry?