Intergenerational Stickiness

Post a Comment » Written on October 24th, 2011     
Filed under: Resources
“It turns out that intergenerational relationships are one key to building lasting faith in students. Silver bullet? No. Helpful if we want students to live their faith beyond high school? Absolutely.

Sadly, many high school students lack these significant relationships. In our effort to offer relevant and developmentally appropriate teaching and fellowship for teenagers, we have segregated (and we use that verb intentionally but not lightly) students from the rest of the church. In interviews and open-ended survey questions, participants shared reflections like this one: “The students seemed to be very separated from the rest of the congregation. Maybe fixing that gap would help unite the church.”

That segregation causes students to shelve their faith. Our study of nearly 500 youth group graduates from around the country has revealed the following important insights about the power of intergenerational relationships in building sticky faith:

Intergenerational Insight #1: Involvement in all-church worship during high school is more consistently linked with mature faith in both high school and college than any other form of church participation.

Intergenerational Insight #2: The more students serve and build relationships with younger children, the more likely it is that their faith will stick.

Intergenerational Insight #3: High school seniors don’t feel supported by adults in their congregations.

Intergenerational Insight #4: By far, the number-one way that churches made the teens in our survey feel welcomed and valued was when adults in the congregation showed interest in them.

To read the full article (Vol. 7, Issue 12), visit the Fuller Youth Institute website and subscribe to their E-Journal.

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