Thursday, November 30, 2017

Episcopal Assembly releases study on Young Adults

The executive summary has some interesting factoids. For example:

"Young adults (persons ages 18‐34) constitute 12% of active Orthodox church members. This figure (12%) is only half of the presence of young adults (23%) in the US general population. In only 8% of Orthodox parishes the percentage of young adults is equal or higher than 23%;"

"Survey data show that having designated young adult leaders is very important for thriving young adult ministries and growth in young adult members. Parishes with designated young adult leaders are much more likely to grow in the number of young adults and report “Good/Excellent” young adult ministries than the other parishes. Remarkably, this survey data also suggest that it does not make much difference whether these leaders are volunteers or paid professionals (although this answer may change if the survey were expanded to youth leaders): what is most important is to have a person whose clear responsibility is to engage young adults;"

"If Orthodox parishes desire to improve their young adult ministries and attract more young adult members, they should pay much greater attention to ʺmission trips,ʺ ʺprayer groups, spiritual retreatsʺ and ʺtheology and contemporary issues study groups/classesʺ specifically designed for young adults;"

"The vast majority of parish clergy (71%) believe that the greatest problem in ministering to young adult members are young adults themselves, because they have little interest in participating in parish life;"

(AOB) - The study “Young Adults and Young Adult Ministries in American Orthodox Christian Parishes” has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA. Download the study report here:
The subject of young Orthodox Church members was a major topic on the agenda of the recent Annual General Assembly Meeting (October 3-5, Garfield, NJ). This report was prepared in order to help Assembly address our common concern about the engagement of youth and young adults in the lives of American Orthodox parishes. Examples of what the readers will find in the report include:
  • Which programs and activities are most crucial for attracting young adult church members?
  • Why it is important to have a designated young adult leader in a parish?
  • Which aspects of Orthodox worship are especially appealing to young adult church members?
  • How does a parish’s involvement with an Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) affect young adult parishioners and young adult ministries?
Parishes of five Orthodox jurisdictions participated in this study. The report was prepared by Alexei Krindatch, the Assembly’s Research Coordinator.

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