Saturday, January 27, 2007

the family's role in choosing church

Thoughts and Questions on
Part IV: Nurturing Teen Religious Loyalty in the Family
Choosing Church by Carol Lytch

Lytch lists 6 factors which are influential in a young person's decision to remain active in church after leaving home.
  1. Parents' expectation that the youth will attend church weekly.
  2. Religion is practiced at home through certain adapted rituals and symbols.
  3. Both parents belong to the same church.
  4. A "warm" family climate.
  5. Social networks between teens, friends, and the parents of friends.
  6. The style of parenting practiced in the home.
What do you think about this list? Does it seem to jive with your experiences? How do we help promote these things among families?

Lytch claims that our current youth, or "2nd Generation Choosers", have been short-changed on religious socialization because their parents, who were the first generation to be able to choose not to go to church, has not raised them with religious language, symbols and rituals. Therefore, much of what happens in our congregations is completely foreign to our youth.

Many other studies are claiming that "theology matters" in youth ministry. Teens really want to know what their tradition believes about God and the world. How can we introduce age-old theological concepts (i.e., grace, the Trinity, the incarnation, etc.) to our youth in ways to do not diminish their truths while still making sense to these "2nd Gen Choosers"?

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