"The five most frequently chosen specific reasons for dropping out were: moving to college and no longer attending (34 percent); church members seeming judgmental or hypocritical (32 percent); no longer feeling connected to people in their church (29 percent); disagreeing with the church’s stance on political or social issues (25 percent); and work responsibilities (24 percent)." - CPost
American Bible Society: "Sixty-nine percent of teens believe the Bible contains everything one needs to know to live a meaningful life; 89 percent of teens believe the Bible is a sacred text; and 44 percent of teens believe the Bible has too little influence in society" CPost
Some youth leaders leave youth ministry too early because they don’t have a plan. Without a plan that recirculates (yet leaves room for current and various studies throughout each year) the youth pastor continues to grow and grow, and brings kids with him, and then it becomes harder and harder to “start over” with a new group of kids.
Choosing topics to study month-to-month or week-to-week is an exhausting way to plan and teach, and it is impossible to duplicate. This kind of haphazardness (that we all have experienced to some degree as we figured out who we are in ministry) needs to be addressed so we don’t keep losing good leaders.
For some, youth ministry is just a stepping-stone to another ministry; I am not addressing those men. I am addressing the young man who is just starting out in youth ministry, with goals to change the world or at least the next generation, and plans to stay in youth ministry until God changes his passion. I am also sharing ideas with those who have been in youth ministry for years, yet struggle with continuity or structure and that fact is sapping their enthusiasm for the ministry they feel called to.
I have a concern about one concept that is affecting all of the various ministries in the church, but I want to specifically focus on youth ministry and how this concept is affecting and changing it. My area of concern is what I am going to call intellectualism.
I define intellectualism as the process in which growth can only be realized and achieved by utilizing fresh, newly discovered information in contrast to the simple and profound. It is the concept that you must always teach something new rather than something simple (that is, the Bible). Though the exploration of new truth, and exposing ourselves to ideas that we previously did not know, is a good practice and a needed part of spiritual growth, intellectualism creates an adverse climate in youth ministries and churches across our nation. Intellectualism looks down upon the simple, yet profound, teaching of the Word of God in favor of teaching new ideas with fresh methods.
From VOICE, May/Jun 2015. Used with permission.
In the past two decades a spotlight has been placed on the problem of teens growing up and leaving the Church—not just going off to college or relocating, but permanently choosing not to have any part, role, or attendance in the ministry of a local church.
In several different parts of our country I have had conversations with pastors, youth pastors and laymen and this question has been asked or simply posed as a sad statement of fact. “I just don’t know where all our teens are going” said one Senior Pastor. “I’m not sure why our teens are quitting on the Church,” a layman in one of our Midwestern churches said to me. Many people are wondering where teens are going when they graduate. But the real question that must be raised is, Why are the teens leaving? We may not need to know where they are going as much as we need to know why they are leaving so we can strategize how to change the trend.