A new study by a UK Christian charity found that churches around the country feel they are lagging behind in their goals of delivering quality youth work.
Luton-based youth charity Youthscape Centre for Research surveyed 2,054 churches in UK, and many of those reported not engaging with youth with faith and issues such as pornography, drugs, and same-sex attraction. The churches who are working with the youth say that they are not doing enough.
"So many of the churches surveyed felt ill-equipped to handle the topics that young people really care about; but more than that they were often shockingly disparaging about the quality of their youth work," Phoebe Hill, Director of the Youthscape Centre for Research, told Christian Today. "When asked, 'What's going well in your youth work?' common answers included 'not a lot', 'nothing', and 'it does not do so well.' That's very hard to hear as a youth specialist, but it can't be the final word. We clearly have a job to do in terms of reinspiring confidence."
As many as 75 percent of the churches never discussed pornography and sexuality with the youth, even when most of the teenagers wanted to hear about it.
Some 51 percent said they infrequently talk about mental health, though 80 percent of the teens said they needed to know more about psychological issues.
Youthscape is a charity founded in 1993 and had been working with youth to help them with their emotional, social, and spiritual development. They launched the center for research in February this year and recruited about 230 youth members to assist in the research, hoping to have a UK-wide reach in local communities and reform the workings of the church.
The research center aims to not ask young people the questions they are not asking but to cater to what is important in their lives and find ways to work with the youth.