Youth Ministry: 5 Statistics on Teens in Africa To Pay Attention To
Our May blog covered OneHope’s Global Youth Culture (GYC) report in Africa. The purpose of this research was to understand the habits, struggles, beliefs and influences amongst digitally connected teenagers globally and included teens from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The research was conducted pre-pandemic and was conducted to help those that interact with teens (parents, teachers, pastors, youth workers) minister to this generation more effectively by having a better understanding of them. We have selected five key statistics on the struggles presented by the teens who participated in the survey. In the end, we also share a 4/14 Academy tool that you can use today to reach, rescue, root and release the teens you are called to love and serve.
In recent years, the topic of mental health has risen more and more to the forefront of national conversations. According to the global report, a large percentage of teens are struggling with their mental health and have even reported having high anxiety, loneliness and depression. This is especially concerning because out of the 20 countries surveyed, South Africa and Nigeria ranked among the top 5 countries where teens reported experiencing loneliness. Here are 5 major statistics on this:
- 4% of teens reported that they attempted to take their own life
- 1 in 4 teens in Africa report having had suicidal thoughts within the last three months
- 55% of teens say they have viewed pornography recently, which is above the global average for this generation
- 1 in 4 teens in Kenya report recently using recreational drugs making them the top country in our global study to report this
- 45% of unmarried teens have been sexually active in the past three months, with the African countries being in the top 4 globally
How do these statistics strike you?
Are you and your youth ministry team equipped to minister to a teen in crisis? Can you identify a teen in crisis? As we learn more about the present struggles of youth on our continent, are we prepared to navigate the cultural tensions that threaten the spiritual formation of young people?
Dr. Dave Keehn of Biola University , having over 30 years of experience in youth ministry with both large and small-size churches, shares two applicable principles to be a more approachable leader to youth who may be in crisis.
- Compassionate listening - Compassionate listening involves using both your ears and heart to listen and care about what the teen shares with you. This is critical to understanding their perspective before trying to help.
- Recognizing early warning signs - Recognizing early warning signs involves using your eyes to watch out for what may be wrong in a teens life. Take notice of any difference in their behavior or emotions.
Want to become better equipped to recognize a teen in crisis?
The Counseling Youth Through Difficult Circumstances course on the 4/14 Academy taught by Dr. Dave Keehn teaches some of the specific things to watch out for and helps you recognize when your teen may be in a significant crisis that requires help beyond your experience.
Encouragingly, the GYC research findings indicate that in spite of the struggles currently faced by teens in Africa, prayer and scripture engagement are two spiritual disciplines that were observed to make a positive difference in the extent to which young people struggle.
There is still hope for our teens! And we have been presented with the opportunity to help them through crisis while also helping them grow in their relationship with Christ.
Need to equip yourself or your team in the foundations of youth ministry? Register for a free Youth Ministry Foundations course on the 4/14 Academy here.
This course covers:
- Youth Advocacy
- Youth Faith Development
- Discipleship of Youth
- Teaching the Bible to Youth
- Sharing the Gospel with Youth
- Counseling Youth Through Difficult Circumstances