I hated the question when I was 18 and I hate the fact that I ask it to recent high school grads, “So where are you going to school?” Then what gets worse is the follow up question, “What are you going to study?” When I was in high school I didn’t like the question because it added pressure to my decision, especially considering I entered school without declaring a major. While my parents, teachers, friends and family made suggestions one place that didn’t give me any insight was the church.
Recently read a study from the Barna Group (click here to read article) that raised the question in my mind:
“How are we as a church influencing the career decisions made by our teens”
To be honest, it’s the first time I’ve ever asked myself that question. I’ve thought about the habits and behaviors I want teens to develop. I’ve thought about how I want those habits and behaviors to affect the way they interact with family, future spouses, coworkers and friends. But never did I think about how I or the ministry I lead might influence what they pick as a career.
According to the article I’m not alone when it comes to talking about subjects that might influence a vocation:
Only 1% of youth workers say they had addressed issues related to science in the last year and a similarly small percentage had taught about creativity or the arts. These facts illustrate the disconnect between where teens’ future professional interests lie, and the encouragement and instruction they receive in their church or faith community.
So, why should we have a role in a young person’s career path?
Because they are growing up in a world where they think they can do anything and everything. It’s a generation that has access to so much information; yet, is impatient for results. In Tim Elmore’s Generation iY he describes how this generation entering into college is competing with a set of paradoxes that can only make choosing a vocation difficult. David Kinnaman the Barna researcher who directed the study says:
Still, many young people do not seem to understand how a rich, historic understanding of the Christian faith and the gospel ought to inform their career aspirations
As youth workers we have a responsibility to not only help young people follow Christ in the relationships that they form but in the vocations that they choose. In fact as youth workers shouldn’t our goal be to help them find a calling…not just a job?
How are you as a church influencing the career decisions made by your teens?
What are your thoughts and comments on the Barna Group article? (click here for the article)