As a former youth pastor, it pains me when I hear about young people who appeared so strong in faith as young people, yet when they venture off to college, move out of their homes, finish high school, or join the military, don’t participate in church life as they did earlier in life.
The Gospel Coalition posted an article by Jon Nielson a youth pastor in Wheaton, IL on what we can do to help keep our young people faithful to the Lord. Enjoy!
Why Youth Stay in Church When They Grow Up
“What do we do about our kids?” The group of parents sat together in my office, wiping their eyes. I’m a high school pastor, but for once, they weren’t talking about 16-year-olds drinking and partying. Each had a story to tell about a “good Christian” child, raised in their home and in our church, who had walked away from the faith during the college years. These children had come through our church’s youth program, gone on short-term mission trips, and served in several different ministries during their teenage years. Now they didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. And, somehow, these mothers’ ideas for our church to send college students “care packages” during their freshman year to help them feel connected to the church didn’t strike me as a solution with quite enough depth.
The daunting statistics about churchgoing youth keep rolling in. Panic ensues. What are we doing wrong in our churches? In our youth ministries?