TIME Magazine has a short article on teens and religious spirituality you should check out this morning.
It’s a question nearly as old as the Testaments: How can church leaders forge a lasting bond with young people?
Youth ministers seeking clues will find many in the results of a new survey of what teens want from church. Pollsters from Barna Group, which tracks teen religious activity, asked 2,400 teens to rank the reasons they attend worship services. Gaining a better understanding of what they believe and making a connection with God topped the list, followed closely by wanting to volunteer to help others and to spend time with friends. Also registering as “very important” factors, though to a lesser extent, were classes studying the Bible as well as issues surrounding religious faith.
When coupled with conclusions of scholarly research, a pattern emerges. “The amount of freedom and opportunity kids have in high school to express and wrestle with doubt, the mysteries of scripture and its applicability to the problems in their own lives is related to the maturity of their faith [as young adults],” says Kara Powell, executive director of Fuller Seminary’s Center for Youth and Family Ministry.
The poll also confirms anecdotal evidence collected by those who regularly interact with adolescents. “I’ve talked to a lot of kids with emotional pain and pent-up anger stemming from a variety of factors including divorce and abuse, and they are looking for hope and help in the church,” says Shannon Primicerio, a lecturer and author on religious topics whose work is targeted to teens.