Magazine article Anglican Journal

Oasis in a Barren Land

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Oasis in a Barren Land

Article excerpt

GROWING UP CHRISTIAN: Why young people stay in church and (sometimes) come back to church

by John P. Bowen

Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 2010

CANADIAN BOOKS AND statistical studies on youth in the church are rare. Most material focuses on why young people seem to be abandoning the church in droves but say little about why some stay or come back. In both these respects, John Bowen's book is an oasis in a barren land.

Bowen draws on experience working with young people in Pioneer camps, where more than 1,200 youth went through leadership training. Although many denominations were represented, Anglican youth made up one of the largest groups.

As Bowen is quick to point out, this is not an academic study. His work draws on raw statistics, and his use of direct narrative engages the reader.

Looking first at why some choose to stay involved, Bowen concludes that two of the major factors are a positive experience in Christian camping and involvement with those more mature in the faith (mentors). Friends and family run second to these influences.

Reasons why believers leave reveal a constellation of issues not so much with God or Jesus but rather with the church. …

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