What's Going On with Youth and Faith?
What's there to learn?
What do we need to know?
Over the past 15 years or so, important groups have carried out significant research on youth, families, and faith. There is much to learn from this, and we ignore this research at our own peril. Here are some links to some of the more significant research.
A great place to start is a very hepful article by John Roberto titled, "The Importance of Family Faith for Lifelong Faith Formation" inLifelong Faith Journal (Spring 2012), 49-61.
The National Study for Youth and Religion, was a large-scale research project conducted by Christian Smith, a sociologist at the University of Notre Dame. This research provides very significant information for understanding youth and their views of faith today. There are a couple books based on this research:
The Fuller Youth Institute is another useful site. Here are a couple of their blog posts that provide helpful information and discussion:
Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers by Christian Smith and Melina Lundquist Denton
Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults by Christian Smith and Patricia Snell
There is also a very worthwhile documentary titled, Soul Searching: A Movie about Teenagers and God, based on the research that includes interviews with youth, parents, and youth leaders from all over the country, as well as commentary by Dr. Christian Smith and his team. It is available on Amazon for rental. Highly Recommended. Be prepared to be surprised, challenged, and motivated to do something.