I found this article, by Kara Powell and Steven Argue, to be quite relevant to our conversations in RZIM Connect:
According to our study, which looked at 500 youth group graduates, over 70 percent of churchgoing high schoolers report having serious doubts about faith. Sadly, less than half of those young people shared their doubts and struggles with an adult or friend. Yet these students’ opportunities to express and explore their doubts were actually correlated with greater faith maturity. In other words, it’s not doubt that’s toxic to faith; it’s silence.
Researchers for the National Study for Youth and Religion discovered that young people have become inarticulate about their faith, often lacking the language to express their beliefs and convictions. Further exploration revealed another telling part of this story: so have their parents.
Somehow, young people and their parents have lost the ability to speak of faith in real life.
It is alarming to hear that, according to this research, 70% of churchgoing high schoolers have serious doubts, but less than half of them can talk about it. Further, that due to this tension, they are losing the ability to discuss faith while they are still attending church with their parents.
- Does this survey data fit with your own observations and experiences?
- How are you opening up safe, comfortable environments for faith discussions with the next generation?
- What obstacles/barriers are hindering you from having good conversations with churchgoing high school students?