Time to look over the new summer curriculum for the kids this Sunday, and tidy up things for the now finished-for-the-season Midweek Kids. You know, I’m already thinking of new ideas for the Fall, should we be able to continue–with our three girls, and whoever else might come. And I’ve recently read something that totally confirms my thinking when I started this group, last Fall.
The article is about a book which focuses on why so many young people are leaving the church (You Lost Me… by David Kinnaman). “Overall, there is a 43 percent drop-off between the teen and early adult years in terms of church engagement.” Apparently, many of them still believe the tenets of Christianity… and I can see these stats personified in my own son–he did drop out for awhile, but now as a young adult is attending again. But it’s not that he “left the faith”. The article says that what these dropouts need from the church is a renewed effort at disciple-making, that meets them where they are.
Now, about the younger ones, and how to keep them from dropping out. “Kinnaman says that we adults need to form one-on-one relationships with them, instead of trying to mass-produce young believers.” We’re constantly doing things “based on the fallacy that more is better. … We need new ways of measuring success.” He goes on to suggest something very similar to the “Pal Program” that Pioneer Clubs has available–providing mentoring relationships. “These relationships would not be solely focused on spiritual growth, but should integrate the pursuit of faith with the whole life.”
AMEN!! This is what we do on Wednesdays with the kids. And here’s something else that was my own “epiphany” when I decided to stop doing Club House (the flashier, more expensive midweek program we ran for years):
Even providing lots of entertainment, as some youth ministries do, is not going to do it. It’s spending time with these kids, showing them that they matter to you, and living out your beliefs in front of them. That’s going to spark their interest and their desire for God.
As I said then, there’s so much to compete with in the secular world–but entertaining kids is not what’s going to attract them (not that you can’t have fun, of course). If God’s love is real to the leaders, they’ll sense something different, and that is what will attract them!
“You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.” (Acts 20:20)