Last year at Falls Creek, almost 4,000 students and leaders representing approximately 160 churches were surveyed on a variety of issues. Three different surveys were used during the summer: a Falls Creek evaluation, a spirituality survey and a morality survey.
The information gathered from these surveys and shared in this article should be used by churches to better educate their students spiritually and morally, and to equip them for godly living.
The Falls Creek evaluations are used to improve the programming from year to year. Students are given the opportunity to share their opinion of the different programming elements. For instance, in 2010, students indicated that “developing their spiritual life” was the top reason (39 percent) they attended Falls Creek, followed by “enjoyed my last visit here” (22 percent). When asked how God spoke to them during the week, students said “through the evening tabernacle service” (50 percent), followed by “nightly cabin devotionals” (24 percent). When asked to rate the evening speakers and music as either, “OK, good or great,” students overwhelmingly said “great” for both the speaker (81 percent) and the music (76 percent).
During the afternoons, students’ favorite recreational activity was volleyball (30 percent). Their favorite missions activity was “the missions village” (36 percent).
Of the nearly 800 students who completed the spirituality survey, only 34 percent read their Bibles daily. When students were asked how they wanted to learn about the Bbible, they said, “in a small group with an adult leader” (45 percent), second was “in a small group with a peer leader” (19 percent). The majority of students, however, do pray daily (63 percent). Seventy-eight percent of students reported that they had not shared their faith in the past month. Secondarily, students noted that they were uncomfortable sharing their faith because they “didn’t know how to” (33 percent) and they “didn’t know enough about God” (31 percent).
They reported the most influential people in their lives were “friends” (41 percent) and parents (25 percent). Students were also asked, “What helps you most in your walk with God?” Students’ top response was “Christian friends” (26 percent), followed by “church events” (23 percent).
The morality survey was completed by nearly 1,600 students. Students reported that in the last five years, 80 percent had watched an R rated movie, 24 percent had viewed pornography and 30 percent had used alcohol. Only 17 percent reported being sexually active, while 83 percent said they were still virgins.
Of those completing the survey, 61 percent were 9th grade or older. Students took a strong stance on honesty saying that “it’s never OK to lie” (79 percent). When asked how they determined right and wrong, students’ top answers were “what I learned in church” and “what my parents have told me.”
Students were also asked about their social media habits. Thirty-seven percent of students said they send or receive more than 1,000 texts per month. More than 61 percent of students use Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites for up to eight hours a week. Students were also asked what their first reaction would be in learning “that a fellow member of their youth group was pregnant.” Students said, “concern for the welfare of the baby” (34 percent) and “concern for the welfare of the girl (32 percent).
Andy Harrison is Falls Creek program director and student ministry specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.