*Warning* Reality Check Ahead.
In the April, 2005 edition of Christianity Today there’s an article by Andy Crouch entitled “Compliant but Confused: Unpacking some myths about today’s teens.” His article details a recent study by Smith & Denton that turned into a book that, apparently, all youth ministers are supposed to read.
There’s some encouraging news in the study (of which I’ve seen in my own ministry) such as the reality that there isn’t much of a generation gap since teens like and respect their parents, that they like church and wish they could go more often, and that they are not spiritually seeking–they’re pretty grounded in their beliefs.
Then the reality check hits.
They have a positive attitude towards the Christian religion, they just don’t know anything about it. In fact, the article says, “In spite of their generally positive attitude toward religion, almost no teenagers, from any religious background, can articulate the most basic beliefs of their faith…when the researchers asked them about pop culture or sexually transmitted diseases, they could give sophisticated answers. They could talk about Will & Grace but not grace.”
I talked about that on the student ministry blog I write, but let’s talk about us now, shall we?
Where do they get this view of spirituality? This view that their parents are nice and so is church and we feel good and do good and feel better about ourselves…
(which, by the way, I’m not so sure I can reconcile with Christ of the Bible)
…let me say it out loud, folks, quoting Smith & Denton:
Apples will not fall far from trees.
What are we going to do about it?