Ghana (MNN) — In a research study by OneHope in Colombia, it was discovered that youth had a general disregard for law and family life. OneHope plans to conduct similar studies in 60 countries across the globe, and followed the Colombian project with a study in Ghana.
The data appeared more hopeful at first glance, but it was discovered that although youth in Ghana may know the right answers, they may not be genuine in their faith in Jesus Christ.
OneHope's Chad Causey says Ghana has a strong heritage of Christianity, but it seems as though this new generation is not certain of its validity. "One in three of the students that we talked to didn't believe that Jesus had actually been raised from the dead," says Causey. "Even though 95 percent of them claimed that forgiveness of sins was through Jesus Christ, 33 percent said ‘I don't really believe he was raised from the dead.'"
This is just one example of several deep questions that were hard for students to answer. OneHope found that although students were able to more or less provide Sunday school answers to questions about doctrine and Christian basics, they were not as sure when it came to questions of their personal beliefs.
Upon performing this research, OneHope conducted a presentation with several ministries across Ghana to address the issue. Among their guests at the conference was the influential First Lady of Ghana, Ernestina Mills.
First Lady Mills has been helping OneHope distribute materials in Ghanaian schools for quite some time. Until she was given a new title when her husband became president, she mainly worked in the field of education.
OneHope could not have foreseen it, but thanks to God's providence, the ministry has a woman on their side who now has more power than almost any other woman in Ghana. She brought press coverage to the conference with her, which also will help to address the issues of youth in Ghana by spreading OneHope's findings nationally.
With all of these resources at hand, ministries in Ghana are beginning to plan new ways to reach youth with the Gospel.
"We're starting to think about new types of programs that challenge young people to get involved with Christian service and Christian ministry earlier on," says Causey, "so that they are forced to wrestle with these questions of belief at a very deep and existential level. It's important for them to figure out ‘have I really been converted, or am I just reciting things that I've always been taught from the time I was a child?'"
Causey says that planning for programs is scheduled to be completed in spring 2010, when implementation hopefully will begin. OneHope is also planning to make its Book of Hope books (which are specifically designed to explain the Gospel to youth) more customized for this Ghanaian generation. They also plan for discussions about their evangelical film, The GodMan, to dive deeper into personal questions about students' beliefs.
At the heart of it, Causey says, "God is the God of [the students'] fathers, but He has not yet become their God. Christ is the Savior of their parents, but maybe He doesn't belong to them yet. So we need to start creating opportunities for young people to wrestle with God and really decide: ‘You're not just going to be the God of my ancestors. You're not just going to be the God of my grandparents; but you're going to be MY inheritance. You're going to be mine.'"