We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

A connection of friends: The church's relationship with young adults

Drake, Phillip Nigel (1999) A connection of friends: The church's relationship with young adults. Masters thesis, Durham University.



There are a group of young adults whose relationship with the church can best be regarded as apart and yet apart, that is to say, who associate themselves with the church but do not want to be wholly committed to it. This personal impression of the 25-40 year old age group is explored in Part One of this thesis through a look at the empirical evidence and through psychological and sociological interpretations of young adulthood. From a sociological perspective, this tension of apart and yet a part is considered in terms of believing and belonging, and asking what young adults may have to offer to a modem world where the choice seems more and more to be between an endless variety of behaving and a single belonging. Psychologically, there is a comparison to be made with the developmental tasks of identity and intimacy; here, the emphasis is placed on the interdependence of these tasks especially as they appear in a relationship of friendship. In Part Two, there is a focus on the work of James Fowler as a means of understanding the relationship of young adults and the church, not only through the theory of faith development for which Fowler is best known, but also through his more recent work on a public church. Close attention is paid to Stages 3, 4 and 5 of faith development theory, and to a full critique of Fowler's work. If Fowler highlights the importance of a sense of vocation for individual lives, the argument presented in this thesis is that an understanding of friendship can encourage and sustain that sense of vocation in young adults as they relate to the church. Part Three is given over to setting this argument on a sound footing, drawing on the resources of Methodism along the way. Following a dialogue between the work of Fowler and John Wesley centring on faith development theory, the conversation moves to a consideration of vocation and friendship as forms of covenant, seen in the light of the Methodist covenant service and Fowler's own writing on a covenant theme. This is followed by a third and final move which sets out a Methodist understanding of a public church with regard to its own tradition of living in connexion. By way of conclusion, the suggestion is made that the church's relationship with young adults is best initiated and supported by understanding that relationship as a connection of friends.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1999
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:48

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter