Saturday, August 28, 2010

Christianity and Teens

Apparently 75% of teenagers claim to be Christian, but most don't even know what they believe. Except...get this...Mormon teens and evangelical teens. (I was glad they included Mormons as Christian on this one!).

"Dean talks to the teens who are articulate about their faith. Most come from Mormon and evangelical churches, which tend to do a better job of instilling religious passion in teens, she says. 

"No matter their background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future.

""There are countless studies that show that religious teenagers do better in school, have better relationships with their parents and engage in less high-risk behavior," she says. "They do a lot of things that parents pray for.""

And the reason for most teens not knowing or living the gospel they profess to believe? 

""If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation," wrote Dean, a professor of youth and church culture at Princeton Theological Seminary."

In other words, their parents aren't living and believing it, either.

Also this: "Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on, she says. "We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake," Corrie says."

And this: "She says pastors often preach a safe message that can bring in the largest number of congregants. The result: more people and yawning in the pews."If your church can't survive without a certain number of members pledging, you might not want to preach a message that might make people mad," Corrie says. "We can all agree that we should all be good and that God rewards those who are nice.""

Interesting that it took them hundreds of years to make this observation: when the people pay the minister, the gospel becomes secondary.

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