Today's youth and young adults representing the Digital Generation and Gen X are more open to spirituality and the concept of God than their parents. Yet they are often resistant to the church because they perceive it as segregated, irrelevant, authoritarian, and culturally isolated. Broken homes and excessive materialism have robbed these youth of a stable home setting, resulting in a fierce self-reliance and independence. Yet they long for the affection and spiritual direction that an authentic Christian community provides. How can the church build bridges with this generation, offering the hope of the gospel to postmodern youth living in an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear? The challenge for the church is to live as an authentic supportive community of faith, remaining faithful to biblical truth while adapting to the rapidly changing culture.
Adolescence is a crucial time for identity development which unfolds in a supportive, social environment. Historically, the family and cultural community have been the primary contributors to identity formation, but changes in these traditional institutions jeopardize identity formation for today's adolescents. Commitment to ideologies, including occupation, politics, and religion, is also important for personal identity integration. There has been little previous research on the influence of the faith community alone in adolescent identity development. This study examines the relationship of religious involvement, commitment, and motivation to identity status for 206 freshmen students in three Christian colleges. Findings from the study and implications for Christian education are discussed.
Those of us who work on a college campus frequently hear the term community - often with varying meaning. This study seeks to determine how college students understand community: what is community; where have they experienced it; why is it so important to them; and what are essential components of community? Thirty undergraduate senior students at two Christian colleges were interviewed in February 2000. A semi-structured interview protocol was designed to gain a better understanding of students' conceptions, experiences, and ideals of community since they became college students. The interview yielded tape recordings and then transcribed raw data. Verbal analysis provided several recurrent themes. Students' conceptions on the relationship between theology and community, and learning and community, are discussed in this paper. Implications are drawn for the Christian college campus.
There appears to be a fundamental disconnect between the predominant existing approach to religious education and the actual responsibilities Christians have to learn and grow throughout their lives. While a biblical approach to Christian growth necessarily incorporates a strong element of content acquisition, there is a great deal more involved in the process. The Bible speaks more of shepherding than teaching; more of growing than learning; more of community than classroom. This study investigates the relationship between lifelong learning and small group Bible studies in the context of religious education.
Christian students at secular universities must learn to study the Bible and apply it to their lives in order to develop a strong faith of their own in the midst of the challenges of this postmodern age. The results of interviews with students involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at six universities reveal that Christian students are eager to study the Bible in small groups where there is transparency and vulnerability to share struggles and to dig deeply into the Scriptures for answers. Despite the atmosphere of relativism on their campuses, most of these students share the belief that the Bible is truth; however, their reason for this is not intellectual apologetics but personal experiences with a living God and his Word as well as trusting relationships such as family, youth group and a Christian community on campus.
Research findings demonstrate the direct correlation between a teacher'??s worldview on the controversial subject of evolutionary Darwinism versus creation, how he/she teaches the subject, and its influence on students'?? beliefs. The results of studies among high school and college students across the country are presented. The writers cite some encouraging trends-?more teachers sampled in the National Science Teachers Association believe in creation than in evolution, and the majority of high school students who were exposed to creation science in school went on to teach creation when they became teachers. The article challenges Christian college faculty to teach the biblical doctrine of creation as well as to train teachers in presenting creation to this generation. It also calls upon college administrators to hire young earth creationist teachers and to promote integration of a creationist worldview into every discipline within their college or university. The article states that since evolution and creation are irreconcilable worldviews, teachers must not attempt to reach a compromise by synthesizing these beliefs in their teaching.
There is a growing awareness among evangelicals that the nature of Christian faith should be more relational and communal with spiritual depth. This study explores the implications of spiritual mentoring for spiritual formation in the evangelical church today and suggests applications for Christian education.
The purpose of this qualitative, cross-sectional study of Master of Divinity students in Toronto was to explore their understandings of spirituality and its relationship to public life and social issues. While there were shared themes in the seminarians'?? perceptions of spirituality across the theological traditions, this study demonstrates significant differences exist regarding how spirituality is best expressed. Apart from students in the Jesuit tradition, there was little connection between Christian spirituality and public life. The essay concludes with theological reflections and educational implications