Friday, December 11, 2009

Faith Study Shows Encouraging Trend

While previous research has suggested that between one-third and one-half of young people from church youth groups struggle with their faith after graduating from high school, a new longitudinal study is giving a more optimistic view of the impact of youth ministry.

The Fuller Youth Institute, which is governed by Fuller Theological Seminary, launched the College Transition Project in 2006 by studying 400 high school seniors during their first three years in college. Two to three years after finishing high school, former youth group students were asked, "Since leaving high school, what's changed about the way you view God?" They were given fourteen different types of responses to this open-ended question, ranging from "I don't think it has changed much" to "I have no more relationship with God" to "I have experienced God's faithfulness more deeply than I ever understood it in high school."

Interestingly, the top three answers that were chosen from the list all revealed positive changes.

  • "I'm closer to God now"
  • "God is bigger now than before"
  • "Now I see that God is with me and for me"

An article released last week, Charting Students' Changing Views of God, which is the most recent analysis of the research, states that, "Overall, these themes reflect the positive changes of a greater integration of faith and everyday life, walking with God through problems, seeing God's character more clearly, and trusting God's love and grace more fully."

According to FYI, the research will eventually be translated into resources that can be used to help families and students better navigate the transition to college.

For further information about this ongoing study, and for its implications for ministry, visit the Fuller Youth Institute.

(From FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

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