The Barna Research Group just released the results of an important survey. These results should be encouraging to pastors, youth pastors and parents. We as leaders can help reinforce these concepts with the students in our ministries. I will highlight some of the findings below:
You may think that students are ashamed of Christ at school, but 37% of students are “happy to see other Christians around.” This is itself is encouraging. Could we be seeing a rise of interest in Christianity? Maybe church programs re-directing their methods of loving others unconditionally is providing results.
Often we can think students no longer see the Bible as being importnat, but 36% of students “feel grateful to see that sacred books are still important to people.” This should overjoy youth pastors to see that students are seeing the text as sacred. What is even more encouraging is that only 10% of students surveyed see people who read the Bible as “old fashioned.” Overall Barna found that “reading the Bible in public is seen as encouraging.”
Barna also found that while a majority of teens own a Bible “seven out of 10” or 69% only 37% never read the Bible. All other groups read at least once a year. And students are not just reading the Bible for one to two minutes, they are reading for “more than fifteen minutes per setting.” Please see the details of the research to see the breakdown in statisics.
In youth ministry we can make reading the Bible like a chore, but the most encouraging result is that 54% of teens believe the best motivation for reading the Bible is “it brings me closer to God.” Students are getting it! Students are desiring the read the Bible for the right reason. Let’s encourage teens to develope their study, because it brings them closer to God. We can help support this pattern of thought.
Interestingly enough, 40% of teens believe the Bible has “too little influence on U.S. society.” Let’s encourage the teens in our programs to live lives that influence our society. We should not just speak this principle, but we should also live this principle in front of them and show them how to by our actions.
Please take the time to read this entire research as presented by The Barna Group here: Top 10 Findings on Teens and the Bible.