Calling all late teens - Your Story wanted!
Survey into young people’s understanding of God
Young people across Australia are being asked about their stories of faith, spirituality and religion.
Funded by Converge Oceania (a sub-group of Converge International), the research project seeks to explore how young people make sense of their experiences of God and identify the factors that informed their understanding of God.
This is a significant collaborative effort, also involving researchers from Ridley College Melbourne and the Australian College of Ministry (ACOM) and Christian organisations who work directly with this post-millennial cohort. Youth groups, churches, Christian schools and community organisations are encouraging their own young people to sign up for Your Story and fill out the survey.
Ridley’s Dr Graham Stanton and ACOM’s Dr Rowan Lewis are “interested in how young people see God interacting in their lives (if at all)”.
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The questions seek to unpack how the young participants have formed their views about life and the significant moments along their journey to this point that have contributed to their stories.
The website, Your Story (www.yourstory.ridley.edu.au), makes it clear that the responder does not need to be super religious or spiritual.
“Rather the study will simply rely on your willingness to genuinely and frankly talk about where you are up to in terms of faith and how this may (or may not) have changed over the last few years.”
“Whether your experience with faith has been positive or negative, even if you don’t believe in God or follow any particular religion, we are keen to hear it all – the good and the … well, not so good,” the website explains.
The researchers say that this is ground-breaking research. Why? “…because we are focusing on how young people come to hold the views they do.”
Stanton and Lewis say that while most such surveys look at a snapshot of youth spirituality at one moment in time, their goal is to look at how faith changes over time.
They also want to investigate the relationships and practices of young people across the years.
To participate, the young person does not have to be a Christian. But for the researchers to achieve their goal, they do ask that the responder has had some connection with Christianity, even if they have rejected it at this point.
The study’s findings are intended to assist community-based and church-based youth organisations to improve their understanding and support of young people and their faith journeys.