ACU announces results of youth ministry survey

For Immediate Release
March 2, 2001

For more information contact:

Tom Craig, Director of Media and Community Relations

Asking about everything from alcohol consumption to perceptions of church, Abilene Christian University's recent youth ministry survey focused on targeted youth ministry.

The study of church teens investigated the various influences on certain spiritual outcomes.

The conclusions in the survey indicated four elements influenced the following spiritual outcomes more than anything else did, said Dr. Carley Dodd, professor of communication who helped coordinate the research. Those outcomes include:

  • spiritual development,
  • commitment to God,
  • commitment and attendance to church,
  • attendance at special outreach activities,
  • acceptance of the purposes of the church, and
  • avoidance of sexual and alcoholic acts.

The four influential elements include:

  • youth ministry qualities,
  • social networks,
  • adult leadership and
  • parents‚ marital status and satisfaction.

The study found that 70 percent of teens whose family had a happy marriage were personally committed to Christ, compared to 42 percent of those whose family had an unhappy marriage.

In addition, 76 percent of teens that felt close to their youth group were personally committed to Christ, as compared to only 45 percent of those who did not feel close to their youth group.

In the area of youth ministry, the study showed that youth ministers who emphasized certain characteristics were likely to have the following outcomes:

  • more focused on positive church purpose,
  • more likely to be involved in special activities,
  • more likely to avoid sexual activities,
  • more likely to avoid alcohol,
  • more likely to be internally spiritually committed and developed.

Those characteristics include:

  • service,
  • helping kids understand obedience,
  • providing Godly self-esteem,
  • providing safe spiritual community,
  • modeling a loving and committed marriage,
  • no ignoring teens in spite of time pressures,
  • asking for volunteers,
  • working through parental criticism,
  • encouraging Bibles in Bible classes,

Chris Seidman, pulpit minister at Farmer's Branch (Texas) Church of Christ, spoke about "The Purpose of Worship," referring to Isaiah 6:1-4.

In the midst of King Uzziah's passing, the Israelites were reminded that God is "high and lifted up" even when earthly kings are not, he said.

"Worship can have that same affect," Seidman said, "reminding teens that even when the earthly throne may be up for grabs, the heavenly throne is not."

Worship allows teens to connect to God rather than hear about him, Seidman said. Even when it may seem like their "Uzziahs" are coming down around them, worship reminds them that God is still in control.


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If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Tom Craig, director of media and community relations, at or call 915-674-2692 (cell phone: 665-5469).

Last update: March 2, 2001
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