Faith formation of young people in a evangelical context : an empirical and theoretical investigation

Weber, Shantelle Merle (2014-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research study focussed on the faith formation of youth between the ages of fourteen and seventeen years old. An empirical and theoretical investigation into the ecclesial, familial and societal influences on the faith formation of this age group within the Evangelical Bible Church of Southern Africa (EBCOSA) was conducted. The theoretical framework of practical theological interpretation aligned with four specific research tasks guided the researcher in stipulating the purpose of the research study under five core objectives. Empirical research was conducted by using interviews and focus groups as its core methodology. A contextual analysis of the EBCOSA positioned this denomination within a post-apartheid South African context. This analysis discusses the foundation and history of the EBCOSA as an evangelical denomination within the context of Christianity in South Africa during the periods of colonization, apartheid and post-apartheid. A brief reflection on the state of youth in South Africa provides an understanding of youth ministry within this denomination. The influence that The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) has had on the EBCOSA’s denominational structure, governance and theological framework is discussed with the intention of understanding how its youth ministry has developed over time and through different societal contexts into its present state. It is argued that this denomination has not taken the faith formation of its youth seriously. This is evidenced by the way in which youth ministry, along with its structures and leadership, has been neglected through lack of youth ministry foci in TEAM’s ministerial succession plan for this denomination. A theoretical investigation into the faith formation of youth between the ages of fourteen and seventeen years old serves as the nucleus of this research study. Key terms such as discipleship, spiritual growth and maturity and faith formation are explored. An understanding of faith as a process toward spiritual growth was selected as term most relevant to the EBCOSA context. The research findings of this study reveal that the youth of EBCOSA were self-motivated and involved within the life of the church in the past. Leadership positions were considered something prized and worth attaining. The present youth are less interested in church life and its leadership positions. The reality is that the EBCOSA’s problems have merged amidst a materialistic and compromising older generation. The church may be involved in the faith formation of its youth on an individual and local basis but this is not true on a corporate and national level. The participants of this study understand faith formation as the on-going and consistent process evidenced through a Christ-like lifestyle. This study confirmed the value that music, Scripture memorization, visitation and interaction around Scripture have on the faith formation of youth. Having relational support from peers, pastors, youth leaders and family; having an attitude that is open to the reality of trials; understanding the difference between owning their faith and adherence to church practice was revealed as contributing factors to youth faith formation. Peer pressure linked to low self-image and an inability to confide in parents; feeling rejected by the church and God and the reality that even Christian parents can hinder their faith by not being consistent in the way they live at home and at church were revealed as hindrance factors to youth faith formation. Christians who pretend had a louder voice than a non-Christian family. A practical theology on youth faith formation from an evangelical South African perspective in which a public practical theology addressing the daily concerns and issues of youth and missional approach to youth is proposed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie navorsingstudie fokus op die geloofsvorming van die jeug tussen die ouderdomme van veertien en sewentien jaar oud. ‘n Empiriese en teoretiese ondersoek is gedoen na die kerklike, familie en maatskaplike invloede op die geloofsvorming van hierdie ouderdomsgroep binne die Evangeliese Bybel Kerk van Suider-Afrika (EBCOSA). Die teoretiese raamwerk van praktiese teologiese interpretasie in lyn met vier spesifieke navorsingstake het die navorser gelei om die doel van die navorsingstudie onder vyf kern doelwitte te stipuleer. Empiriese navorsing is gedoen deur die gebruik van onderhoude en fokusgroepe as die hoof metodologie. ‘n Kontekstuele analise van die EBCOSA het hierdie denominasie binne 'n post-apartheid Suid-Afrikaanse konteks posisioneer. Hierdie analise ondersoek die grondslag en geskiedenis van die EBCOSA as 'n evangeliese denominasie binne die konteks van die Christelike geloof in Suid-Afrika gedurende die tydperk van kolonisasie, apartheid en post-apartheid. ‘n Kort refleksie oor die stand van die jeug in Suid-Afrika bied 'n verstaan van die jeugbediening binne hierdie denominasie. Die invloed wat die Evangeliese Alliansie Mission (TEAM) op die EBCOSA se kerklike struktuur, bestuur en teologiese raamwerk gehad het, is bespreek met die doel om te verstaan hoe die jeugbediening met verloop van tyd en deur verskillende sosiale kontekste tot sy huidige toestand ontwikkel het. Daar word argumenteer dat hierdie kerk nie die geloofsvorming van sy jeug ernstig opgeneem het nie. Dit word bewys deur die manier waarop jeugbediening, saam met sy strukture en leierskap, verwaarloos is deur 'n gebrek van jeugbediening fokuspunte in TEAM se bedienings opvolgingsplan vir hierdie denominasie. ‘n Teoretiese ondersoek na die geloofsvorming van die jeug tussen die ouderdomme van veertien en sewentien dien as die kern van hierdie navorsing. Sleutelterme soos dissipelskap, geestelike groei en volwassenheid en geloofsvorming word ondersoek. ‘n Verstaan van geloof as 'n proses in die rigting van geestelike groei is gekies as die meeste relevant vir die EBCOSA konteks. Die bevindinge van hierdie studie toon dat die jeug van EBCOSA voorheen self-gemotiveerd en betrokke in die lewe van die kerk was. Leierskap posisies was beskou as iets om na te streef en die moeite werd om te bereik. Die huidige jeug is minder geïnteresseerd in die lewe van die kerk en leierskap posisies. Die werklikheid is dat die EBCOSA se probleme saamgesmelt het te midde van 'n materialistiese en skikkende ouer geslag. Die kerk mag betrokke wees in die geloofsvorming van sy jeug op 'n individuele en plaaslike vlak, maar dit is nie waar op 'n korporatiewe en nasionale vlak nie. Die deelnemers van hierdie studie verstaan geloofsvorming as die deurlopende en volgehoue proses wat bewys word deur 'n Christus-tipe leefstyl. Hierdie studie het die waarde wat musiek, Skrif memorisering, besoeke en interaksie rondom die Skrif op die geloofsvorming van die jeug het bevestig. Om relasionele ondersteuning van die portuurgroep, pastore, jeugleiers en familie te hê; om 'n houding te hê wat oop is vir die werklikheid van beproewing; begrip van die verskil tussen die besit van hul geloof en die nakoming van kerklike praktyk is geopenbaar as bydraende faktore tot die jeug se geloofsvorming. Groepsdruk gekoppel aan ‘n lae selfbeeld en ‘n onvermoë om ouers in vertrou te kan neem; die gevoel van verwerping deur die kerk en God en die werklikheid dat selfs Christelike ouers hul geloof verhinder deur nie konsekwent te wees in die manier waarop hulle leef by die huis en die kerk nie is aan die lig gebring as hindernis faktore in die jeug se geloofsvorming. Christene wat voorgee het 'n harder stem as 'n nie-Christelike familie. ‘n Praktiese teologie op die geloofsvorming van die jeug van 'n evangeliese Suid-Afrikaanse perspektief waarin 'n openbare praktiese teologie die daaglikse bekommernisse en probleme van die jeug en missionale benadering tot die jeug aanspreek word voorgestel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95902
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