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Similarly, Vanitta Conrad, CUMC's director of Christian education, said the teenagers she works with often aren't prepared to make serious decisions about faith.They are busy worrying about school assignments and their social lives.These findings are alarming for faith leaders, as well as parents hoping to raise their kids to be faithful adults.Youth programs and parenting routines designed to pass on religious practice appear to be failing, and 1 in 4 Americans are considered nones today, compared with 12 percent 20 years ago, PRRI reported."A lot of parents think they're allowing their students to be grown-ups and make that choice (about church attendance,) but they're not ready to make that choice," she said."It's really hard to find the balance between faith and fun and school." It can be even harder to fit church participation into a busy college schedule, as Desiree Jensen learned a few years ago.

Youth Coordinator Patsy Simons looks at the work of Fiona Kelsey during a service project at Christ United Methodist Church in South Salt Lake City on Oct. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News But strong pushes toward religious practice have fallen out of favor in many homes, noted Nancy Ammerman, a Boston University professor of sociology of religion, in an email.Engaging faith Youth programs are most successful at drawing teenagers to religious belief when they help them see faith in action, said Flory, who studied young adults' spiritual practices while writing a forthcoming book.Youth groups should "engage the experience of religion instead of sitting around with pizza," he said.It's a tall order to expect children to become religious and be interested in theology, history and religious culture without more of a strong push from parents and other authority figures.– Daniel Cox, Public Religion Research Institute's research director On any given Sunday around a.m., a handful of college students sip coffee and chat in Christ United Methodist Church's youth room, a catch-all space for praise band equipment, kitchen supplies and an air hockey table.

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