Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Poll of Youth

At the 2010 National Youth Gathering of the LCMS a poll was taken of youth and adults present -- a large sampling of more than 10% of the 24,000 who attended.  Some interesting results, although polls are not entirely reliable since how questions are phrased has as much as anything to do with the answers received.  Add to that the problem of teens responding to everything from rather personal questions to issues framed with words like always or never (which kids tend to dislike), and you end up with a picture both good and bad of where our youth stand...

  • 80 percent of the youth who took part in the Lutheran Youth Fellowship Youth Poll at this summer's National LCMS Youth Gathering have either an "excellent or good relationship with their parents," according to the poll results.  Nearly 78 percent live with both natural parents, 18 percentage points higher than the national average.
  • 77.5 percent attend public high school which compares to 61 percent in 2007.  Almost 10 percent attend a Lutheran high school and another 5.4 percent attend a private or parochial high school.  There also was a slight increase in those who are being home-schooled: 2.4 percent compared with 1.5 percent in 2007.
  • 74.3 percent) of the young people identify themselves as active or very active in their congregation.
  • 42 percent have little or no personal Bible study, a figure largely unchanged during the past 30 years of the poll.   About 5 percent said they did more than two hours per week and 43.6 percent said 15-60 minutes per week.
  • 53 percent took the moral position that premarital sex is always wrong, down from 58.4 percent in 2007 and from 63.3 percent in 2004; but up from 47.5 percent in 1992 and 43.6 percent in 1986.   
  • 67.3 percent claimed to never have engaged in sexual intercourse.   
  • 59.7 percent said homosexuality is always wrong, down from 65.8 percent in 2007 and 70 percent in 2004. 
  • 53.2 percent said marriage is for one man and one woman, compared to 57 percent in 2007 and 70.5 percent in 2004. 
  • 88.9 percent indicated they don't smoke and 90.4 percent said that they never use drugs. The youth who said they never drink alcohol rose from 44.6 percent in 2007 to 65.8 percent, although 19.8 percent said they have been drunk at least once in the past 12 months.  
  • 72.9 percent of youth say abortion is always wrong, and 38 percent say they favor the death penalty.  30.5 percent of youth think global warming is an issue to be taken seriously, down from 42.8 percent in 2007 when the question was first asked.  
  • 31.2 percent of Gathering youth came from congregations that only offer traditional worship, 3.8 percent came from churches offering only "contemporary" worship, 50.9 percent from churches offering both traditional and contemporary services and 8.4 percent offering blended services.
  • 15.8 percent of all youth said they prefer a variety in worship; 28.9 percent prefer contemporary; 33.1 percent prefer a mixture of old and new "not necessarily from a hymnal"; and 22.2 percent indicated they prefer traditional, liturgical worship.  Male youth (28.4 percent) expressed the strongest support for traditional, liturgical worship.  
  • 70.7 percent of youth have been on a Servant Event or mission trip.  
  • 6.4 percent of youth are planning to go into a church career, while 26.7 percent said they would consider a church career but had made no career choice. Another 27.2 percent said they had never really thought about it.  
Areas of significant concern:
  • 19.5 indicated they think all religions are pretty much alike and 54.1 percent think all Christians should be able to worship together.  
  • 45.2 percent of poll participants said that they agree with the LCMS position on women's ordination, with 22.8 percent calling for more study, and 12.2 percent supporting women's ordination.
So I guess we need to do some more work, eh?  On the whole some numbers were very comforting and others not so.  Some were predictable if not desirable but others were surprising.  All in all it shows us areas where the congregations and their Pastors need to do a better job with catechesis...


Anonymous said...

In most surveys teens indicate they
are most influenced by their peers.
Parents and personal faith are less
influential than we think. So the
current teen culture approves more
easily homosexuality and gay marriage
and our LC-MS teens reflect this.
Our high school Bible classes need to
reinforce the Christian lifestyle
with solid Biblical teaching and
honest discussion.

Chris said...

Only 22% prefer the Liturgy? Yeah, you DO have your work cut out for you. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

The kids who attend NYG more typically come from larger congregations that offer contemp worship so the results may be skewed. Try polling the kids who attend Higher Things and see if there os a difference (I expect there would be). Also the fact the demographics might have something to do with this (suburban vs rural). Just a thought... FWIW

ErnestO said...

A valid survey must have - as the number one question "do you lie on surveys"

Jesse Penny said...

ErnestO - Some portions of a given sample population when performing a survey can contaminate the results for whatever reason which is why scientific polls always have a margin of error.

Unless a majority of the population was lying through their teeth, considering the sample size of about 2,400, you can draw some accurate conclusions from it.