and hear

Rev Dr Philip Hughes

speaking on

“Charting the Faith of Australians”

on the

Religion Report


Radio National

Wednesday the 28th of September

Pointers September 2016



The Influence on Children’s Faith of Family and School
Many young people have spoken about ‘owning’ the faith for themselves. It is one thing to be raised in a faith, but it is another to own it. Most young people see it as necessary to work out for themselves what they believe (Hughes, 2007, p. 127).
What role, then, do families and schools have in the transmission of faith today?

Identifying New Models of Church in Contemporary Australia
There are several ways in which people identify what to do in relation to building a church in contemporary Australia. One of the most obvious is to look around at what is working. It is evident that, in terms of numbers, the rate of growth and present membership, Hillsong has easily been the most successful church in Australia. Indeed, I think it could be claimed that it has been the most successful in Australian history if measured in numbers and growth.

Researching the Church in Australia: Contemporary Issues in Survey Research
A lot has changed in the world of research since the Christian Research Association began just over thirty years ago. With technology driving much change in the way research data is gathered and analysed, societal and cultural changes have driven many of the issues and topics investigated in the social research field. In many respects, researching the Christian church in Australia is very different to just three decades ago.

Annual Report 2015-2016 and
Financial Report 2015/2016

Children’s Prayer – A Multi-faith Perspective

This book provides strong arguments for giving prayer a central place in the education and nurture of children. It is based on research in Australian Catholic, parent-controlled Christian, Independent, Jewish, Muslim and government schools. The author demonstrates focused attention and care in the data collection from the words of children and their drawings of people praying. She takes us through her thorough processes of analysis and synthesis.

The research shows that prayer is valued by all children, whether they come from a religious background or not. For some children it is a way of associating with their communities and traditions of faith. For others, prayer is practised in an individualistic manner.

Prayer is a way to perceive and respond to the experiences of life. It can help in dealing with the challenging emotional states of anxiety, loneliness, fear, anger and guilt. It can give hope for the future. It provides a way of seeking help for others, as well as expressing praise and thanksgiving.

Vivienne Mountain has a background in teaching and in clinical counselling. She lectures in Spirituality and Ministry with Children at Stirling Theological College, University of Divinity, Australia. She has published three books as well as contributing chapters to a number of others and articles for national and international journals.

Vivienne Mountain PhD, MA (Theology), MA (Creative arts therapy), MA ( Philosophy and religion), B Ed, B Th.

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A Vision for effective Youth Ministry

Many young Australians are struggling with issues of mental health, anxiety about the future, and addictions to drugs. Behind these struggles are often questions of what life is all about. Youth ministry is more important today than at any time in recent history. Yet, many churches are finding it difficult to connect with youth beyond those whose families are involved in the church.

This book has arisen out of Australian research into youth ministry, from visiting youth groups and talking with youth leaders and the youth themselves. It offers a vision for the development of youth ministry, recognising the diversity of youth and the backgrounds from which they come.

It explores how to build a youth ministry team and the qualities needed in the team. It discusses issues of training, payment, and support for youth leaders and building bridges with parents, church and school.

What are the factors which will really make a difference in developing youth ministry? Based on research, our conclusions are:

  • The vision for developing the spirit of young people

  • The commitment of the whole church to youth ministry

  • The youth ministry team with strong relationships with God, each other, the youth, parents, the church and the wider society;

  • A diversity of activities: both age-specific and intergenerational for fun, friends, inquiry and developing the spirit.

The Authors:

Rev Dr Philip Hughes has had pastoral experience in inner city, suburban and rural churches, and has been the senior research officer of the Christian Research Association since 1985. He has two adult children and one grandchild.

Stephen Reid has worked for the Christian Research Association since 2007 and has one teenage child and two younger children.

Margaret Fraser has worked for the Christian Research Association since 2011. She has two children who are completing university and two who are teenagers.

All three authors were involved in interviews with youth, youth leaders, clergy and parents for this study.

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