May 2009

Youth:- Christian or not.

It was a few years ago that I first quoted from the book ‘Churchgoing and Christians’ by Robin Gill, from University of Kent. In the book, a survey of many sociological studies, it shows that frequent church going, on average, changes our perception of ourselves and the world. Though adults had sometime large differences in attitudes between church going and non church going people, I guess the largest differences was shown in youth. The following survey (though now almost 15 years old) is worth more than a second glance.

 

Churchgoing Frequency

Agreed to Statement (as answered by teenagers)

Weekly
%

Occasionally %

Not at all
%

I am concerned about the poverty of the Third World

79

67

51

I am concerned about the pollution risk to the environment

74

73

59

I feel my life has a sense of purpose

68

60

19

RE should be taught in school

61

40

22

I think that immigration into Britain should be restricted

27

32

42

It is all right to buy alcoholic drinks under the legal age

27

35

44

There is nothing I can do to solve the world’s problems

15

21

30

Source: Teenage Religion end Values, Leslie Francis and William Kay, Gracewing, 1995

Some questions such as ‘RE should be taught in school’ are rather obvious for frequent church goers, but questions about pollution and poverty and immigration show what a marked affect churchgoing and therefore committed religious belief has on teenagers.

However, the huge difference in positive response to the statement ‘I feel my life has a sense of purpose’, is staggering. Teenagers who went weekly to church (and therefore profoundly affected by faith) were 3 times more likely to say their life had a sense of purpose than the non church goers. Is it any wonder that many teenagers feel that there is no or little purpose in their lives?

If we want to help our young people find meaning in their lives it would appear that encouraging them to be regular at church is vital. That knowing Christ makes a real difference in both their perceptions of the world around them and the knowledge that they have a purpose as well. Faith in the one true God affects us all. It transforms us.

It is for this reason that Church Meeting last year have agreed to employ a part time youth worker. If we want our living faith to be found by teenagers both inside and outside of the church, we need some help. For ministry to teenagers has become more specialised and we don’t have the resources within the congregation. So I ask you to pray for the this new venture. For the right person to be found and the finance to support the project also.

The employment of a youth worker is a major step in the life of this church. And we do it so that youth of the Church and Rayleigh can find for themselves the difference God can make in their lives.

David