After my epiphany about Outcomes Based Ministry in Swaziland, we launched a giant research effort in order to better understand the heartfelt needs of the next generation we are attempting to reach.
We use the findings of this research to help us design Scripture products and programs tailored to speak to the relevant needs of teens specific to their unique cultures, contexts, and communities. Crafting programs and products that are relevant and engaging will ultimately allow us to be be more effective purveyors of His truth. We’re not trying to re-package God’s truths, candy coat them or build a better mousetrap, but we ARE attempting to be good stewards of our resources and efforts to achieve the end goal of producing lasting fruitfulness in their lives.
One of the tools we use to help us determine the specific needs in a given country is a report called the Attitudes & Behaviors of Youth (ABY), which is made up from a portion of our Spiritual State of the World’s Children Research. You can view our findings and use them to help your ministry too.
The ABY research comes from a 214 question survey that nearly 150,000 teens from 44 countries on 5 continents ages 13-19 answered. We administer this survey to find out what life was like for youngsters before an encounter with one of our programs or products, then we go back and administer it again post-encounter to help gauge what has changed since their experience with God’s Word.
Examples of questions from survey are:
- How many minutes a week do you talk with your mother/father about things that are important to you?
- I can think of a specific time recently when my religious beliefs actually changed the way I behaved–True or False
- What new media are you interested in: Facebook/Blogging, Hip Hop, Fashion Magazine, MP3, cell phone, laptop computer?
- How much do the following influence your thoughts and actions–television, Bible/Koran, siblings, Buddhist faith, Scientology/New Age Religions, parents, teachers, friends, music you listen to, movies, Christian Faith, info from internet, religious leaders in your community, Islamic faith, textbooks, indigenous faith/traditional ancestor worship, Hinduism, national political leaders, other religious faiths?
- In the past 3 months, how many times have you watched an x-rated/pornographic movie, used an illegal/non-prescription drug, cheated on an exam, stole money or some other material possession, lied to a parent, teacher or other older person, lied to one of your friends or peers, attempted suicide, read a pornographic magazine, drank enough alcohol to be drunk, intentionally tried to physically hurt someone, intentionally tried to emotionally hurt someone, gambled or bet your money on something, smoked a cigarette or used another tobacco product, had suicidal thoughts, watched music videos at least once a week?
Like a farmer who studies his land and its conditions before strategically planting seeds, we are intentionally studying the youth we are attempting to reach in order to choose the scripture engagement tools and programs that will be most effective and fruitful.
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