Strong Survey Results for Presbyterian Teenagers
A recent survey has found that Victorian Presbyterian teenagers are strongly influenced by their family’s faith and over half participate in the annual Presbyterian Youth Victoria (PYV) camps. In July and August 2016, The Christian Research Association, a non-denominational Australian organisation who gather statistics about church life, invited the PYV to take part in a wide-ranging survey. The scope of the survey included looking at the attitudes of young people towards church, Jesus and the Bible. It also sought to measure their wider church connections, involvement and participation in PYV camps and local youth ministries.
Overall most young people indicated strong to moderate relationships with others and in general were satisfied with their lives, their relationship with God, and their friends. The vast majority said they would continue to be involved in the church in the future and that their faith had helped them through challenging times in life. Importantly, the survey indicated that their faith helped them to know right from wrong and encouraged them to look out for the needs of others before their own rights and interests.
Young people indicated that their mother (100%) and father (86%) had an influence on their decision to follow Jesus. Ministers had also been very important in many cases (64%), as had grandparents and youth leaders. Friends had been influential for substantial percentage (27%). So, I want to encourage all ministers to recognise the important influence you have with youth in your congregations. Keep up the good work. Almost all surveyed felt that the church was accepting and supportive of the youth, and many had good relationships with older people in the church and were involved in activities that included adults. Youth can mix well with older members of the church. Please give opportunity for this to happen.
Not surprisingly, I was encouraged to read that over half had been to a PYV camp in the last two years and indicated that they enjoyed catching up with friends, and learning more about faith and the Bible. We would encourage all youth to attend these camps and enjoy the experience. PYV thanks the Christian Education and Nurture Committee for supporting this survey.
Rev Brian Harvey is the Youth Ministries Director of Presbyterian Youth Victoria.