Statistics from the youth department of the Diocese of Sydney show that the majority of Sydney Anglicans came to personal faith before the age of 20.

The research found that local church youth and children’s ministries were the most influential activities for coming to faith, followed by youth camps or conferences and church services.

“Seventy-eight percent of people turn to faith in the years up to age 19, and 46 percent in the teenage years,” says the Rev. Ed Springer, head of ministry support for Youthworks, an Australian organization that develops Anglican youth ministries. “That just encourages us to keep young people’s ministry a key priority in our churches.”

Another finding was that there is room to grow new approaches to intentional ministries to young people. According to Springer. “We need to also equip parents to be active disciplers and to encourage the whole Christian body of all ages to be involved.”

Christian parents need skills for helping young people in their faith journey – beyond just making sure they go to church, he said. They need skills “for actually discipling their children with the church’s help.”

Springer said the research showed that youth ministry also had an impact beyond church families. “Youth ministry is a very significant time for young people coming to faith from non-believing families. That encourages us to keep looking outward, helping build pathways from local friends, from school, into churches where faith development can be explored.”

John Martin