So today in my Youth Ministry intensive class at Multnomah Biblical Seminary we were discussing the topic of why kids are leaving the church. This topic has become huge among church and youth specialists. The group that I have learned a good amount of information from is the Fuller Youth Institute through initiatives such as Sticky Faith and articles by people like Kara Powell and Chap Clark. My professor was talking about his research into it and why kids do stay. Three main reasons that he found were the factors of community (knowing and being known by others), service (working in the community and the world), and solid teaching in the worship service. Then we started talking about how do we solve the problem of attrition rates in church attendance. Some suggestions were prayer with leaders in our community, intergenerational worship and fellowship experiences, and doing service projects as a youth group or church-wide.
Our conversation got me to thinking about something I learned from a pastor once who said, “Everyone needs a Paul, a Timothy, and a Barnabas. People who are ‘Paul’s’ teach, ‘Timothy’s’ are mentored, and ‘Barnabas” are encouragers.” I was thinking that there is also a real need to be these people to at least one person. As pastors and leaders I think that we do this on a large scale most of the time, but I really think that it would be important to specifically direct our learning, mentoring, and encouragement towards a few different people. I know that this isn’t much of an original thought, but I thought that I would share the semblance of thoughts that came together as I was sitting in class. Hopefully by the end of this week of this class I will have some more put together statements and it won’t be so much rambling- but hey that’s how things come out sometimes!
Keep loving Jesus and the church!