The statistics are staggering. 88% of children raised in Christian families leave church at the age of 18, never to return. Only 4% of the “bridger” generation, or Gen Y, will be Bible-believing Christians when they reach adulthood, all while, the 20 something male is almost completely absent in the American church…
The question immediately comes to, then what do we do?
Have we watered the gospel down, changed the face of Jesus, re-created what Christianity actually is so much so that nobody wants to be a part of it, that a majority of our teenagers, and young adults have completely walked away from the church?
It seems as if the problem is not necessarily youth ministry (that being our current programmatic model of youth ministry or the segregation of ages) but the problem at hand is our own faith and the lives we’ve modeled as “followers of Jesus”.
I’m just gonna go ahead and say it. When I look at the state of youth ministry it seems shallow.
- When the deepest books we read as youth pastors are “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan or “Sex God” by Rob Bell (which are written at 4th grade reading levels)
- When the top blog hits are “5 Epic Youth Group Games”
- When we purchase our sermons off line instead of digging into the word ourselves and soaking in scripture and allowing God to speak through that.
- When 50% of youth group consists of “chubby bunny” and youtube videos
Its no wonder that youth are fleeing from churches and young adults want nothing to do with Jesus. Because what we model is not Jesus. Its barely even biblical. From the stage and off the stage.
“If you only preach the gospel on stage but don’t live it off the stage, you’re not a pastor, you’re an actor…” –Jon Acuff
I’m just calling it as it is:
Either we’re lazy, cowardly, uneducated pastors, teetering along the lines of stupidity.
We just don’t give a crap.
I think we can dance around these two issues at hand. But I’ve always learned that we can’t fix a problem without acknowledging it.
The state of youth ministry is not good. We’ve danced around the issue saying it lightly and gently. Or either being in complete denial of it. Its time to man up and step up. Take on courage live out our faith and preach the word of God…
Then maybe, just maybe students, parents, young adults and our Elder board will begin to take us seriously.
“Lackadaisical faith is not getting peoples issue, but ours… So we must assume that the solution lies not in beefing up congregational youth programs or making worship more “cool” and attractive, but in modeling the kind of mature, passionate faith we say we want young people to have…” – Kenda Creasy Dean
But, the question remains… if this is true, if these statistics are reflective of the state of youth ministry, then what do we do?