Evangelical churches retain youth better

Evangelical churches do a better job than mainline churches in keeping their young people in the faith, probably because they invest more money in youth ministry, says a Duke University professor who studies characteristics of American congregations.”

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Joel Tetreau's picture

Interesting! It would also be interesting to see a study that compares the % of young people that retain their faith into adulthood from an evangelical context vs. those that retain their faith in a fundamentalist context. I have a theory....I'd love to have that theory supported or undermined by numbers/facts/data. I bet you someone somewhere has done a study like that.

Straight Ahead!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I have another theory... that the % of young people who grow up fundamentalist and end up more broadly evangelical is higher than the % of those that leave the faith.
It really is a DMin project just begging for a student.

Dave G's picture

I grew up a fundamentalist...in the process, I saw most of my friends at the time become more theologically liberal, worldly...many eventually dropping out of church altogether. I hung on for a long time, then God hit me upside the head with a spiritual two-by-four and I'm now radically different than perhaps even my fundamentalist upbringing could take credit for.

I give that credit to God Himself. Because of Him, I've gone just the opposite direction than my former friends...becoming an "ultra-fundamentalist" if I had to choose a term.

Truth be told, I believe the reason "evangelical" churches retain their youth is simply because they make a greater effort to be "relevant" and "meaningful" in modern terms and ways...IMO the youth in question are of the world, and drawn more towards churches that compromise God's Word with worldly things rather than those who uphold the truths of God's Word with little to no mixture of those same worldly things.

I'd say the Holy Spirit living and working in a person decides whether or not they "drift", if you get my meaning...:)

Sola Scriptura, both mentally and physically.
That means no other books about Bible interpretation on my shelf, sorry...;)

1 John 2:27-29

Charlie's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I have another theory... that the % of young people who grow up fundamentalist and end up more broadly evangelical is higher than the % of those that leave the faith.
It really is a DMin project just begging for a student.

Please, Aaron, don't encourage more people to become fake "doctors." However, I agree that it's a great topic for a master's thesis in social science.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

jimfrank's picture

I've been ruminating about a DMin program, or as Charlie (above) calls it, "a fake doctor." It would be a good project topic for my alma mater's DMin program (Grace), but the schools I'm thinking about would not like it if it indicated a drift away from their brand of Fundamentalism. Good idea, Aaron. Hopefully someone will pick up the ball and run with it.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Dave G wrote:
Truth be told, I believe the reason "evangelical" churches retain their youth is simply because they make a greater effort to be "relevant" and "meaningful" in modern terms and ways...IMO the youth in question are of the world, and drawn more towards churches that compromise God's Word with worldly things rather than those who uphold the truths of God's Word with little to no mixture of those same worldly things.

Basically, the "have your cake and eat it too" approach.

I 'grew up Fundy', but because the Fundamentalism I was raised in tended to be obsessed with behavior modification, I didn't get saved until I was in my late 20's. What is scary is how many classes I taught, leadership positions I held, and how many people I led to the Lord while unregenerate. Which makes me wonder how many of the kids I knew 'left the faith' because they were also still lost, and not because of some kind of disenfranchisement with Fundamentalism itself... although the IFBx environment was/is IMO a contributor to the ability of so many to fly under the spiritual radar for most of their lives.

Joel Tetreau's picture

Aaron and friends (sounds like a talk show title)....

2 thoughts:

1) These are good follow-ups from Aaron's counter-proposal. I still like my original idea - I'd love to see someone do a statistical analysis comparing a "typical %" of our young people that retain their faith from a fundamentalist church vs. an evangelical church. My response to Aaron's thought would be that IMO - to go from a fund work to an evang work IMO is note a significant marker of anything. To deny the gospel is.

2) Charlie - Many D.Min's are "vigorous." In my case, the 32 hr. post grad program was after 100 grad hours - 3 institutions and years of "active" ministry. Remember most "real" D.Min terminal Thesis Projects have to "actually work" in the "real world." Over the years the one thing I've noted about Ph.D and Th.D terminal projects is more than a few of them do well "in Theory" but struggle in "real life." This is not to say I don't appreciate the men who have earned a Ph.D. Often you know more about the man from the man himself as opposed to what piece of paper hangs on his wall.

Straight Ahead Amego's!

jt

Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (sevbc.org); Regional Coordinator for IBL West (iblministry.com), Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

Ed Vasicek's picture

Susan said:

Quote:
I didn't get saved until I was in my late 20's. What is scary is how many classes I taught, leadership positions I held, and how many people I led to the Lord while unregenerate. Which makes me wonder how many of the kids I knew 'left the faith' because they were also still lost, and not because of some kind of disenfranchisement with Fundamentalism itself.

I have concluded this also. Perhaps the reason that newborn babes no longer crave the milk of the Word is because they are not newborn babes?

Joel wrote:

Quote:
My response to Aaron's thought would be that IMO - to go from a fund work to an evang work IMO is not a significant marker of anything. To deny the gospel is.

It is a marker of something, though. In many cases, I would much rather see someone in a conservative evangelical church than many fundamentalist churches I have known. To me, Bible content and absorption is what I look for. What bothers me is that I am wondering how many leave churches that really take the Bible seriously (and expend mental energy to study it) for fluffy churches. If their kids continue the same downgrade trend, soon there is nothing significant left at all.

Jim wrote:

Quote:
the schools I'm thinking about would not like it if it indicated a drift away from their brand of Fundamentalism

Good point. Some might realize it, but think there is nothing they can do about it, short of compromise their convictions. Sometimes they might be right. Sometimes their convictions may be extra-biblical. I think it is fair to say that the Bible is becoming part of the "what's not hot list" within shallower forms of evangelicalism.

"The Midrash Detective"

Mike Durning's picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:
Susan said:
Quote:
I didn't get saved until I was in my late 20's. What is scary is how many classes I taught, leadership positions I held, and how many people I led to the Lord while unregenerate. Which makes me wonder how many of the kids I knew 'left the faith' because they were also still lost, and not because of some kind of disenfranchisement with Fundamentalism itself.

I have concluded this also. Perhaps the reason that newborn babes no longer crave the milk of the Word is because they are not newborn babes?

This was the first thing I thought of when I read the lead post. Too often we are counting as defections some who were never truly His. A youth group that can’t highlight the difference through its teaching ministry actually probably obscures it.

Ed Vasicek wrote:
It is a marker of something, though. In many cases, I would much rather see someone in a conservative evangelical church than many fundamentalist churches I have known. To me, Bible content and absorption is what I look for. What bothers me is that I am wondering how many leave churches that really take the Bible seriously (and expend mental energy to study it) for fluffy churches. If their kids continue the same downgrade trend, soon there is nothing significant left at all.

I note that there are fluffy emphases in some Fundamentalist churches and some Evangelical churches – though not the same fluffy emphases. To me, the distinction between “teaches the Bible” versus “teaches man’s ideas, hype, and movement tradition” is a far more important distinction than the distinction between Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. And I’m not sure you can prove to me that those who embrace either label are more likely to teach the Word.