( I wanted to slip in one quick post before we wrap up the series on Young Life and the Church. Lars Rood will actually write a guest post addressing the issue of targeting church kids, key kids or the students who are considered the furthest out. What causes some churches to think that para-church ministries steal kids? ) Tune in next week!

Christian Smith is a Sociologist at Notre Dame who has conducted some very helpful research through the National Study of Youth and Religion through the Lily Foundation. Smith participated in a podcast discussing the state of youth ministry where the interviewer asked him to sum up his entire research about youth and faith. His answer? Christian Smith said that the religious commitments of parents operate as a ceiling on how serious teenagers are able to take their faith. Empirically, very few teenagers are able to rise above their parents. Parents are the most important factor that determine spiritually growth in their children between the ages of 18-24.

Mark Oestreicher responded to this statement on behalf of youth workers saying that most churches realize the need to include parents, but don’t know how.

If you are a parent, what is your response to the idea that you function as a spiritual ceiling?

To the youth workers; if this is true (which I believe it is), what do we do?