Friday, October 9, 2009

What factors are characteristic in emerging adults that have kept their faith

This month Christianity Today published an interview with Christian Smith, a Sociologist at Notre Dame that recently came out with research about the faith patterns of emerging adults, the 18-29 year old demographic. Essentially you can say that only 15 percent of emerging adults are committed to a traditional faith of any kind.

One answer caught my eye. Smith was asked, "What are the traits of religious American teenagers who retain a high faith commitment as emerging adults?

The answer is revealing. The most important factor in the lives of committed emerging adults is parents. Apparently that is detailed in Smith's recent book, Soul Searching, but it is sobering and puts immense pressure on parents. It's also predictable. What I found more interesting was the second most important factor:

"Another factor is youth having established devotional lives - that is, praying, reading Scripture - during the teenage years. Those who do so as teenagers are much more likely than those who don't to continue doing so into emerging adulthood."

Now... that is interesting. I have seen a "devotional" time disparaged a lot recently as it seems like a contrived tradition and may be seen as cheesy... etc. I mean, everything is seen as cheesy these days, but the idea of a "devotional" time is indeed never commanded in scripture. I find the above quote to be a powerful indication of WHY it is good to implement a devotional time. It seems like without it, it's easy to just slip away, to get busy and distracted and involved in whatever is going on in your life, and never have prayer and scripture there to speak truth and remind of what is most important.

It makes me all the more passionate about teaching the freshman girls that I work with to read and pray for themselves instead of simply considering their involvement in youth group to check the "spiritual" box in their lives. And it makes me immensely thankful for the example of my parents and their quiet mornings in the living room with their Bibles on their laps.

No comments: