WHAT? There Are Committed Christian Youth?

The focus of the EYM study was the on the real faith of young people. That makes it essential to look at the nature of the faith reported by youth in the congregations in this study.

They were asked to tell their thoughts about God; what a committed Christian faith is; and what the nature of their faith is.

There are answers to these questions in the self-reports of the 2252 youth surveyed in these exemplary congregations. They describe important aspects of their faith in Jesus Christ.

There are 12 differing aspects of faith that the youth in the EYM study associate with being a committed Christian. They are:

  • A Personal Christianity
  • Moral Integrity
  • Moral Responsibility
  • Defends and Supports Friends
  • Reaches out to Others
  • God Consciousness
  • Seeks Spiritual Growth
  • Lives a Life of Service
  • Speaks Publicly About Ones Faith
  • Private Religious Study
  • Exploring a religious vocation

Most impressively, in their surveys, the parents, adult youth workers and pastors and youth ministers all report seeing the evidences of these same aspects of faith in the youth of their church.

Historical assessments of youth on the first five of these aspects were available for youth. The EYM scores were significantly higher than in the historical studies.

So there it is.  Straight from the mouths of youth.  And that kind of faith can be seen in the students of your church too.  What evidence do you see?  Is that what you’ve been looking for?

–from the EYM study documentswww.exemplarym.com

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  1. Most of the findings seem in line with what you might expect, but there is one that is actually a bit troubling to me. The final marker of “exploring a religious vocation” makes sense from a 20th century ecclesiology perspective, but in the emerging missional ecclesiology that appears to be developing, there might not even be such a thing as “religious vocations.”

    I’m assuming that the term means some sort of full-time paid ministry role, not actively trying to integrate their faith into any vocational calling. If that is the case, then we need to help differentiate which parts of the EYM study are backwards looking and descriptive, but not so much forward-looking and prescriptive. I don’t think we can assume that this will be a marker of mature faith 50 years from now.

    • You are totally right, Matt. But the important thing for us all to note here is that these characteristics are what YOUNG PEOPLE in these congregations reported as their view of committed faith. This is not adults sitting around in a room deciding what young ought to be focused on. It will be interesting to see if a characteristic like “exploring a religious vocation” sticks around.

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