Lost in Transition – With His Latest Research on Emerging Adults, Sociologist Christian Smith Helps the Church Reach Out to a Rootless Generation

05 Oct

Ties in with Free Northerner’s excellent recent post on adolescence, here.

Hint: if you see a ‘You have reached the end of this Article Preview’ notice after the first few paragraphs: highlight some of the text and Google it, then when you see the same CT story at or near the top of the search results, click on it; you should be able to read the entire thing, coming from Google (it worked for me, anyway).

Literate Comments

What are the traits of religious American teenagers who retain a high faith commitment as emerging adults?

The most important factor is parents. For better or worse, parents are tremendously important in shaping their children’s faith trajectories. That’s the story that came out in Soul Searching. It’s also the story that comes out here.

Another factor is youth having established devotional lives—that is, praying, reading Scripture—during the teenage years. Those who do so as teenagers are much more likely than those who don’t to continue doing so into emerging adulthood. In some cases, having other adults in a congregation who you have relationships with, and who are supportive and provide modeling, also matters.

Some readers are going to be disappointed that going on mission trips doesn’t appear to amount to a hill of beans, at least for emerging adults as a whole. For some it’s important, but not for…

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3 responses to “Lost in Transition – With His Latest Research on Emerging Adults, Sociologist Christian Smith Helps the Church Reach Out to a Rootless Generation

  1. Eric

    October 6, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Part of the problem is that our society artificially extends childhood to ridiculously high ages. Adolescence is in reality a very short period—roughly paralleling puberty. Most of them never get to develop as adults, because the time they should be transitioning into adulthood is crabbed by forced childhood.

    Obamacare actually defines ‘dependent children’ as up to the age of 26. About ten years younger is where people should start becoming independent adults.

  2. Will S.

    October 6, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Exactly, Eric. Adolescence is unnecessarily extended and prolonged…

    And with parents today not even letting kids play alone, unsupervised, without being contacted via cell phone frequently, they’ll take that much longer to develop a sense of responsibility – if they ever do…


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