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Beers, Stephen Thomas. "Faith Development of Christian College Students Engaged in a One-Month Study Abroad Mission Trip." Ph.D. diss., Ball State University, 1999.
Engaged in a One-Month Study Abroad Mission Trip. Muncie, Ind.: Ball State University, 1999.
171 students from Taylor University-72 who participated in one-month STMs through that school during January Term and 99 who stayed on campus at that time (the control group)-responded to the Faith Maturity Scale, and the Growth in Mature Faith Index. No significant differences found between pre-trip and post-trip scores on faith scales, but there were significant changes on some specific questions (e.g., becoming more accepting of people with different religious beliefs.)
The author notes that part of reason that there was little change may have been because subjects scored very high already on pre-trip- there was little room for improvement.
The STMers also took a qualitative survey, the results of which indicated that participating in an STM helped them develop in relation to God and their attitudes towards service to others.
- All 75 of the students participating in school-sponsored study abroad mission trips during the January term were surveyed. The destinations of these trips were Ghana, West Africa, Bahamas, India, Venezuela, or Austria.
- The 99 students in the control group were taken from two psychology classes and a religion class.
- The FMS and GMFI given to STMers 2 weeks before trip and again within 2 weeks after trip; these surveys were given to the control group on second day of class and during last week of class in the January term.
- The qualitative survey was given only to STMers; it was given within 2 weeks of their return from their trip.
Of Taylor U students in general.
- Over 90% white
- 95% age 17-25
- 75% come from top 20% of high school class
- 98% claim to be Christian
Top Answers for questions in qualitative study:
- Favorite Part of Trip:
- 30% working with other teammates
- 24% building relationships with people of another culture
- Most Unpleasant Part of Trip:
- 17% tensions/frustrations within group
- In general, frustrations had to do with relationships
- Most Significant Lesson God Taught Me:
- 18% must trust God for everything
- 9% better understood own significance, need to be available to God
- What Host Country Personnel Helped Them Understand:
- 54% culture and people of country
- Area of Life Most Changed:
- 25% relationship to Christ
- 11% uselessness of material things
- 9% understand and look for good in others
STMers improved significantly (statistically speaking) compared to the control group (for negative statements, that would mean fewer agreed post-trip) in their responses to the following questions from the two faith maturity serveys used:
"I accept people whose religious beliefs are different than mine"
"I feel overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and obligations I have"
"I don not understand how a loving God can allow so much pain and suffering in the world"
"My life is filled with stress and anxiety"
Rate self concerning "The amount of time I spend studying and reading the Bible"
"The degree to which I am convinced God is active in the world"
- "I have a hard time accepting myself"