Youth and Young Adult Ministry Has Never Been More Important
|internetmonk.com: Michael Bell: How To Stop The Hemorrhaging: A Follow Up To The Pew Forum Data [please read]|
Recent data from the Pew Forum points to the importance of youth and young adult ministry. Boiled down: if the church doesn't reach or keep them by age 23, we likely won't. Michael Bell says,
"Of those who were raised Protestant (Evangelical, Mainline, and Historical Black), and are now “unaffiliated with any religious group”, 85% left their childhood faith before the age of 24. Of those who were raised Catholic and were now unaffiliated, 79% left before the age of 24. The same holds true for those coming back the other way. Of those raised unaffiliated, but who are now affiliated with a religious group, 72% left the ranks of the unaffiliated before the age of 24."Churches used to say, if we don't get them by graduation we won't have them. Then it was, if it was not by grade 10, we'll have little chance because their lives become so busy. Then it was, if not by Junior High. Recently I've heard some say it's now by fifth grade. A lot of the problem in youth ministry these days is the parents failure to personally disciple their children and failure to prioritize youth ministry in their child's life.
Churches training parents to be the primary spiritual directors of their children has never been more important.