Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The College Transition Project

Fuller Seminary's Center for Youth and Family Ministry just released a study titled "The College Transition Project." See the pdf here.

It is the results from "a survey to 234 students who had graduated from the youth ministry of a Presbyterian church within the last four years. This particular youth group was comprised largely of middle-class Caucasian students. The responses on the 69 questionnaires that were returned were both interesting and surprising." The survey and results specifically address students transitioning from youth ministries into college and the hows and whys they either stay involved or leave churches.

I've jotted down a few quotes and thoughts from the survey and would encourage you to read the survey for yourself. There is some interesting statistics as well as some good and thoughtful analysis and action points.

1. Context
Based on the responses to our survey, the big three topics that seem to deserve special attention are developing new friendships in new contexts, how to live responsibly when you're away from home for the first time, and how to find a new church or college ministry in which you can be both nurtured and challenged.

Context seems to be a recurring concept in the results of the study. Maybe that is why missional experiences are so formative for students - when one has to go live in another context for a little while, see that the world is much bigger than you, and realize that your perspective of church is not the only perspective on Church. Not only does the Bible tell us that we must go and make disciples - giving us the imperative to go and do, maybe God realizes that one of the best ways to grow disciples is when they must go and reproduce themselves, whether that's in another country or a new college campus.

2. Places to work through doubt
Perhaps the most significant finding of the College Transition Project to date is that students who felt like they had a safe place to talk about doubt showed greater faith maturity.
This idea is definitely compelling to me. I can't say that I have ever set out specifically to engage students that had doubts. It is an idea that is well worth our time to think through.

3. Well-processed tough times
Perhaps it's the depth that comes from the well-processed tough times that builds roots that can withstand the shifting winds of college life.
Maybe it also has to do with youthworkers providing specific, formative experiences that deepen the faith of students, and being able to help kids process through those experiences. In other words, more than just pizza and karoke night.

No comments:

Post a Comment