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New Study Sheds Light on Spiritual Life of Teens
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"Bombshell"... "landmark"... "most ambitious national study ever conducted among teenagers about their religious and spiritual lives." These phrases describe a book that has just been published: Soul Searching--the Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (2005, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-518095-X). Throughout his career as a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, author Dr. Christian Smith has studied Evangelical churches. A conservative Protestant, Smith tells adult church leaders that the "generation gap" of their own youth in the 1960s and 1970s is no longer a reality. These Millennial generation teens are much more positive and loyal, more bored than rebellious. The task now is to better engage and challenge young people. Smith's recommendations include don't be shy about teaching teens and that youth leaders "need to work much harder on articulation of the faith." Similar to youth in the 1950s, today's teens need to be challenged to be more creative about their religion and practice their faith. Simple, ordinary relationships with adults are crucial. Now I'll add a recommendation: If you buy only one book about ministry this spring, this should be the one!

INNOVATIONewsletter, February 16, 2005 Center for Creative Ministry