Barna Research – Student Faith Devolopment

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:

  1. The church cannot operate in a way that the younger generation will just be “grandfathered” into their faith.  
  2. 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. 
  3. Application in lessons is bigger now than ever before.
  4. 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!
  5. 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?

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One thought on “Barna Research – Student Faith Devolopment

  1. I have always enjoyed Barna’s research. He has done some great work getting stats prepared for others to use. You are correct in your assessment of the current generation. Students need to understand that truth and finality of God’s Word. They cannot grow up thinking that they can just pick and choose whatever beliefs they think best suit them. May we be the ones to lead them there.

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