The utilization of adventure-based programs in Christian education

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Participants in a Christian adventure program (Liberty Expeditions) were tested to investigate the effectiveness of this type of program in causing spiritual change. Specific areas of spirituality measured in this study were identified in six study hypotheses. These areas were: sense of self-worth and purpose within God's creation, acceptance of doctrinal teachings, interest in Bible reading, intent to share religious faith, attitudes towards prayer, and perception of acceptance within the testing group. Pre- and post-program spirituality was self-reported using a 55-item Likert-type Scale instrument which was developed specifically for the study.

Paired t-test comparisons of pre-post test scores of the 4 groups comprising the sample showed slight, but not statistically significant, gains in 22 of 24 analyses. Hypotheses with the largest gains were the hypotheses addressing intent to share religious belief (mean gain for all groups), sense of self-worth and purpose, and interest in Bible reading. Additional analyses included an analysis of variance between group scores and the Cronbach's test of instrument reliability.

Due to overall lack of statistical significance, conclusions were limited. Positive gain scores in 22 of the 24 analyses, however, implied that the program was effective. Limitations of the study and implications for Christian adventure-based programming are discussed.