World-class thinkers gather at FYI for 2nd phase of new research project

Brad M. Griffin | Sep 24, 2014

It’s no secret that we love research at FYI.

It’s the way we live out our mission of equipping young people with the lifelong faith they need: by leveraging research into resources you can use in your own ministry context.

So this week we’re salivating a bit as we launch into a three-day research summit with some incredible thinkers and ministry leaders from around the country. We’re in Stage Two of a three-phase project we announced last fall called “Churches Engaging Young People.” As we slog through mounds of data (hundreds of surveys and interviews from all kinds of interesting churches), these thinkers will help us continue to interpret our findings and hone our process as we carry the project forward.

Here’s a brief overview of the project from last year’s press release:

Fuller’s “Churches Engaging Young People Project” will study exemplary churches nationwide that have been identified for their thriving ministries with young people ages fifteen through twenty-nine. The primary goal of this research is that other churches can learn, contextually apply best practices, and become more effective in their ministries to young people…

Citing recent studies that indicate that as many as half of formerly churched young people disengage from God and the church after high school, [Kara] Powell announced that the aim of the project is to “empower entire congregations with an approach that incorporates extensive studies of church practices that engage youth.”

“We are so grateful for the generous support from our grantors to conduct this research and meet an important need,” she added.

The study will take place in three stages, beginning with a survey of approximately 200 nominated churches (representing Protestant and Roman Catholic congregations) that have perceived effectiveness in their engagement of young people, ages fifteen through twenty-nine years old. Stage two will explore in greater detail the characteristics and practices of forty churches that are especially noteworthy. Stage three will consist of site visits to ten of these churches for more analysis. Each stage of the project will include review, evaluation, and input of a national council of fifteen experts in the areas of youth ministry or church health. FYI anticipates broad dissemination of the findings through various print, media, and training channels.

We’re thick in the “brain work” right now. But what we’re most excited about is what will come out of this work to serve the church—and specifically, your local congregation. When we started the research behind Sticky Faith, we had no idea how God would use it to spark a movement in churches around the globe. As we take a next important step with our current project, we do so with open hands to how God might work through it in new ways.

Would you pray with us this week?

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.

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