Chris Folmsbee at A New Kind of Youth Ministry recently came across a book by Stephen Jones called, Faith Shaping: Youth and the Experience of Faith ( Judson Press, 1987). He reports:
Faith Shaping is full of little nuggets that are not only relevant for today but are required for people who work with today’s youth. Probably the most helpful morsel of the book for me was chapter 9 on culture shaping. In this chapter, Jones reminds his readers “We will not do justice to adolescents unless we help them consider the shape of their emerging faith in relation to their culture.” (P.89) . . .
The trend we commonly understand as ‘youth leaving the church’ isn’t primarily about the churches tendency toward abandonment, a rise in the influence of media or the Internet or the inability to reach a post-literate generation through traditional methods. Rather, it is primarily an issue of doubt and distrust.
We (youth workers) have not believed in and trusted the Holy Spirit’s ministry and movements enough among youth to allow youth to be the shapers of their culture. Instead, we’ve tried to shape the culture ourselves. This tragic mistake has led several decades of youth toward finding ways outside of the church to practice their faith and shape their culture. This is why students are graduating and not coming back.
Chris’s full post is here.