New Testament knowledge was really, really strong. Old Testament knowledge was pretty weak overall. Theological phrasing for the nature of Christ and the Trinity were pretty low as well. I think the high score should be put in perspective a little bit. No 6th graders took the exam and I haven’t tested enough middle schools yet to have reliable averages yet. But this area is certainly a strong suit.
Not necessarily good or bad but you have apx. 3-5% of your middle school student body who would label themselves agnostic (if they knew the term.) But as a whole, the student body’s intellectual understanding of sin and salvation is spot on. Even their belief in a literal 6-day creation account seems to be almost everyone that believes in God. Their numbers were in line with other schools but about 30% stated that they would probably cheat if they knew they would never get caught.
Right around 7% of the Middle School don’t go to church at all which is down a little from average. Also on the higher end than most schools is that the students seem to be reading their Bible on their own. It’s not where I think it should be, but you all must be pushing it. The only other thing that really jumped out of the survey on this section is about 30% of student want to be trained in evangelism and discipleship.
They view chapel pretty highly overall, and in general like the speakers you all have. But when asking for areas of improvement they were a little more vocal than most schools. Trying to categorize their responses, I’d say about 1/3 like things the way they are, 1/3 want to be more personally involved, and 1/3 had miscellaneous suggestions. In that area, the most common response was to have more games and activities. It seems they did that more in elementary chapel, and they’d like to do it more. There was also quite a few mentions of more worship.
The students certainly view the schools discipleship efforts positively. Looking at all the various questions, you have about 75% of the Middle School students who think the teachers and the school is doing great with about 25% having a negative view and not being spiritual impacted. I definitely think there’s room to bring that bottom up a little. I always love seeing a lot of names of people that are making a spiritual impact. And I certainly see variety. The most common names though were Crawford, Chapman, Kelly, and Jones. So let’s figure out where they’re doing and do more of it.
Finally we’ll end with a pro and a con. The Con is that a huge majority of students aren’t sure what their spiritual gift is. This is low hanging fruit and can be affected right away. And a Pro is the Middle School Retreat. It’s working. Keep it up.
Areas for Improvement
1) In your Bible Classes do a little bit more study on theological concepts. A tool like Tim Keller’s “New City Catechism” www.newcitycatechism.com might give you some good material to go over and quiz on. There’s an app as well.
2) I’m a big fan of spiritual gift tests, especially for young people. They provide a couple things: it helps them see the ways God has wired them, it will allow them to actually focus on their strengths, and get them thinking about helping others spiritually. Be sure to pick a spiritual gift test that explains the gifts the way you would. One free one I’ve found and I overall like is https://giftstest.com
3) You need to get as much out of the Middle School Retreat as possible. There should be 2-3 chapels leading up to it. Getting everyone all ready for what’s about to happen. Maybe even utilizing some sort of small group that will be used while on the trip. Likewise, there should be follow-up after the retreat. Another chapel dealing with the same concepts, and some break-out groups to remind them of decisions they made and help them actually follow through. I’m happy to help design some additional structure around this to maximize its benefit.
Want to look through a different survey?