The average church experiences a drop-off rate for teenagers of 50-80% after they graduate from high school. This statistic emerged out of an in-depth analysis of Christian teenagers conducted by the fulleryouthinstitute.org.
They also conducted an in-depth analysis of hundreds of churches that are ‘Growing Young’ (eg. doing a great job of discipling youth and young adults). Their research uncovered six core strategies that churches implemented that helped them reach young people for Jesus.
- Empower youth to lead.
- Empathise with young people.
- Take Jesus’ message seriously.
- Fuel a warm community.
- Prioritise young people (and families) everywhere.
- Love and serve the needy.
Today we are embarking on a journey towards ‘Growing Young’. Here is a snapshot of where we are, where we are going and how we plan to get there. I will break the strategy down into short-term, medium-term and long-term – we have to work on several fronts!
We run a fortnightly Friday night youth group with games, dinner and Bible teaching (average attendance of 6). We also run a Bible study on Sunday mornings during school term (average attendance of 12). This is about engaging our teenagers today.
We have launched a new student leadership training program (called ‘EQUIP’) for young people who are eager to take their faith more seriously. This is about training the leaders of tomorrow.
We have brought together some parents and leaders to form a Growing Young Team. In the next 6-8 weeks we will survey the entire church on how we are going at ‘Growing Young’. This information will then feed into the monthly meetings of the Growing Young Team, who will also read Growing Young, a chapter at a time. Over the course of many months and years, with much prayer, discussion and a lot of hard work, we hope to become a church that increases its impact on young people. This is about long-term culture shift.
What you can do:
- Pray – for our leaders and our efforts to reach young people.
- Wait – it will take many years for these efforts to bear fruit!
- Engage – consider how you can encourage our teenagers at church on Sundays.
Feel free to ask me any questions and thank you for your support.