i’m coming to this conclusion, which i verbalized recently for the first time during one of my coaching groups. it’s an opinion, not a fact (yet). but it’s based on a gumbo of inputs:
- the stewardship of neuron winnowing that takes place in the years following puberty, leading to what the world’s leading adolescent brain specialist calls “the hard wiring” of the brain.
- various readings of and talks by christian smith and kenda dean and kara powell.
- mandy drury’s talk, based on her PhD research, at The Summit 2012, on the critical role of “testimony” in faith formation.
- and, frankly, my unscientific and anecdotal work with my middle school guys small group every week.
here’s the soft conclusion, which i toss out like a grenade, fully expecting some will consider this an overstatement:
for teenage faith formation, verbalization of belief is more important than the accuracy of the beliefs.
it’s not that i think “accuracy” is bad. it’s a question of priority in the role of faith formation.