Some more thoughts from my post last week:
- Parachurch ministries are not enough. Youth ministry organizations that are not a part of an established church (Young Life, Youth for Christ, etc.) cannot expect to be able to fully nurture faith in adolescents. Though most of them state the goal that they try to connect their teens to a local church, this study highlights the imperative to do so.
- Maybe “youth group” needs to focus towards those whose parents are not involved in their faith. As I said before, there is hope for youth whose parents are not actively supporting their faith development as long as the youth can go beyond youth group and get involved in the life of the wider congregation. If the parents are distant that leaves only the congregational and age-specific spheres. Perhaps then youth ministries should focus more on helping youth whose parents are distant. This could cause conflict with those parents who are active and think that the youth ministry should be tailored to their kids, but the research suggests otherwise. Obviously, we should be doing all we can to help parents get involved in the lives of their kids, but there are simply times when that is not the case. And when that is true, youth ministry and the church are the only spheres where they will be able to develop faith.
- I wonder what implications there are for teens who do not attend church with their parents, but go to another church’s youth group. Assuming that the parents are reinforcing and nurturing faith development in the home, I wonder what the effects are when those faithful parents and their children do not attend the same church. Teenagers love to be with their friends, and when most of their friends go to a different church there is a huge pull for a youth to join them. It would be interested to see how that dynamic plays into this three spheres model.