Date of Award

10-2001

Embargo Period

8-16-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching (Honours) BA/BTch (Hons)

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Beamish

Abstract

The development of spirituality and faith in students is one of the main goals of Christian education. The present study investigated this faith development and factors that contributed to it. Within the content of the study, faith was identified in two major themes. Vertical faith refers to relationship with God, belief in and commitment to Him and a willingness to foster this relationship. Horizontal faith refers to aspects of service and social justice, care and concern for others through compassionate interest in human relationships. The study investigated the role that worship assembly played in faith development. In particular, the study investigated the impact of background factors, student participation in worship assembly and student attitudes to worship assembly, and their respective role in faith development. Data were collected from 840 students in 3 schools in the Central Coast and Hunter Region of New South Wales during Term 2, 2001 using a questionnaire. Regression analysis was used to test hypothesised relationships in a causal model, linking background, intermediate and outcome variables. Vertical faith maturity, that is students’ relationship with God and commitment to Him, was found to be high, whereas horizontal faith maturity, that is care and concern through service to others was not as high but was still positive. Student attitudes towards worship assembly were positive. Students were found to exhibit very low rates of planning involvement and even lower rates of active participation in worship assembly. Participation, contrary to the import of the literature, had no major influence on vertical faith, and only a slight causal relationship with horizontal faith. Causal pathways examined showed students who had positive attitudes to worship assembly were Christian and had both previous church and school worship experiences reported a mature vertical faith, ie a strong relationship with God, commitment to Him and willingness to foster relationship with God. Also, students with positive attitudes to worship assembly who were female, senior school students and were active participants in worship assembly reported a mature horizontal faith, ie they were strong in commitment to fellow human beings through service, social justice, and action on the human plane. Students involved in worship planning were most likely to be senior school students who are Christian, with previous church worship experience. Active leadership participants were most likely to be those who had previous church worship experience.

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