According to Lifeway Research, 70% of high school church goers quit attending church by the age of 23. Of those, 34% said they had not returned to church by age 30. With statistics like this, it’s hard not to get a sense that we have somehow failed our youth. We must ask, “Is what we are doing as a church having a lasting effect?”
Many changes over the past few decades have shaped how we do youth ministry today. In the 1970s and 80s, there was an increase of popularity with youth organizations such as Young Life and Youth for Christ. The church took note and saw a need for specialized ministries to teenagers. It was also during this time that our culture became saturated with the need for entertainment. In adapting with our culture, youth pastors began to rely on attraction-driven programs to reach teenagers, including elaborate lighting, live worship performances, etc. Allowing such entertainment to be an alternative to traditional preaching in reaching youth with the Gospel has had great effects in our 21st century church. Mainly, students no longer have a place to go once they graduate from high school since they were never integrated into the “adult” church.
Simply put, the task of student ministry has never been as challenging as it is today. Each generation is proving to be more atheistic than the one before. That is why, here at Westbrook Community Church, we desire to integrate students into our church’s mission and to have a Gospel-centered ministry grounded in the Word of God. Doing so will set our students up for success when they leave high school.
May we be a church who comes alongside and raises up the next generation of believers!