Brian Frick is the Associate for Camp and Conferences Ministries with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has been involved in camp and conference ministry since high school. For the past ten years, Brian has served as program director of Johnsonburg Center in New Jersey, Westminster Woods in California, and Heartland Center in Missouri.
Camp and conference ministry compliments and partners with other ministry aspects of our church to foster faith development and reflection. As our communities and our church changes, our ministries need to grow and adapt with creative and emergent programming and leadership to meet new realities.
These blogs entries, though varied, are intended to spur thought and conversation around the opportunities and challenges before us.
An excerpt from an article by Lovett H. Weems, Jr. appearing on the webpage for:
The Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Helping Youth Have a Faith of Their Own
The fact that youth participate in church less as they get older and often are not present in church as young adults can lead church leaders to assume they lack religious interest. A new book growing out of the National Study of Youth and Religion challenges that assumption. Sociologists Lisa Pearce and Melinda Lundquist Denton found that older teens and young adults see great significance in religion though not always in institutional forms of religious life.
In their book A Faith of Their Own: Stability and Change in the Religiosity of America’s Adolescents(Oxford University Press, 2011), the authors follow up with 2,530 young people, age 16 to 21, surveyed about their faith and religious practices at two points in time. The authors identified five types of religious identity among these young persons.
Abiders (20 percent). These are the adolescents with the highest levels of religious interest and practice. They not only believe in God; they pray regularly, attend services, volunteer, and are most likely to say their religion is the only true faith.
Adapters (20 percent). This group shows high levels of personal religiosity. But compared to the Abiders, they are more accepting of other people’s faiths and attend religious services more sporadically. The Adapters are most likely of all the groups to help others in need.
Assenters (31 percent). These teens say they believe in God, but they are minimally engaged with their faith. Religion is tangential to other aspects of their lives.
Avoiders (24 percent). They believe in God but do not engage in any religious practice. Their God is a distant one, and they often do not name a religious affiliation.
Atheists (5 percent). They do not believe in God and do not attend services.
(Ok...now what to do with it...)