College Transition Initiative

Welcome to the blog of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding’s (CPYU) College Transition Initiative (CTI). This site contains commentary on transitional issues, exploring research, trends and college student culture. For more information visit:

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The transition from high school to college is a difficult one, and yet, it is a transition that is often overlooked. This site is to help college bound students, parents, and youth workers stay up to date on the latest research and trends in regards to college transition. Your comments are greatly appreciated. Join the conversation!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

NEW Barna Research: Twentysomethings Put Christianity on the Shelf

The following comes from The Barna Group:

“Transitions in life are rarely simple. Some of the most significant and complex shifts that people undergo occur during the transition from adolescence to early adulthood. An important part of that maturation is the refinement of people’s spiritual commitment and behavior.

A new study by The Barna Group (Ventura, California) shows that despite strong levels of spiritual activity during the teen years, most twentysomethings disengage from active participation in the Christian faith during their young adult years – and often beyond that. In total, six out of ten twentysomethings were involved in a church during their teen years, but have failed to translate that into active spirituality during their early adulthood.”

You can read the entire article, complete with graphs and an explanation of their methodology, here.

The director of the research, David Kinnaman, offers insightful comments as well. Here’s a sample:

“There is considerable debate about whether the disengagement of twentysomethings is a lifestage issue – that is, a predictable element in the progression of people’s development as they go through various family, occupational and chronological stages – or whether it is unique to this generation. While there is some truth to both explanations, this debate misses the point, which is that the current state of ministry to twentysomethings is woefully inadequate to address the spiritual needs of millions of young adults. These individuals are making significant life choices and determining the patterns and preferences of their spiritual reality while churches wait, generally in vain, for them to return after college or when the kids come. When and if young adults do return to churches, it is difficult to convince them that a passionate pursuit of Christ is anything more than a nice add-on to their cluttered lifestyle.”


Blogger tgrosh4 said...

It all starts in high school, or should I say middle school, or should I say from the womb w/the local congregation (more broadly the People of God) and the family as to whether they choose to embrace, indwell, incarnate, articulate, and teach the Biblical narrative in their home, community, school, etc. Such a mission, directed by the Father and fueled by the Word and Spirit, involves a critique, filtering, and alternative cultural framework to the media driven consumeristic society of our day from cradle to grave.

In personal conversation w/historian George Marsden during his spring visit to Pittsburgh, he recommended Christian Smith's Soul Searching as a must read not only for youth ministers, but for campus ministers. Soul Searching reports the findings of The National Study of Youth and Religion, the largest and most detailed such study ever undertaken. Although I rarely agree w/a book's PR, I believe that this piece gives the definitive story of the religious and spiritual lives of contemporary American teenagers (and their crash-and-burning faith in college).

I'd recommend Barna, and those w/interest in this topic, take time to read, consider, and discuss this piece, at the very least the 7 page Concluding Unscientific Postscript: Observations and Implications of NSYR Findings for Religious Communities and Youth Workers.

8:15 PM  

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