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Loosing Battle

Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by Shortandy, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman Active Member

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    One church that I loved during college was like a home away from home for me. They were great people.
     
  2. Shortandy

    Shortandy New Member

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    I have shared on several post that I am not even entertaining the idea that I have the answer to the problem (maybe some ideas at best)....but some of you still refuse to admitt that the way we are currently doing it obviously is not correct. My church needs as much help as any of yours in this area so please don't take my challenges as though they are coming from a guy that has it all put together because I do not.

    Now a few of you, to validate the current approach, are hiding behind statements like, "even Christ himself didn't keep 100%." I understand that full well but if a 70 to 80% failure rate doesn't bother you then something is wrong!!!
    Others throw out statements about kids moving away but I think you are still missing something. The kids that are moving away are not attending other churches either. So these statements mean little to the debate. I am not simply saying they don't atttend their home churches; they are not going to church at all.

    So here is where we are my friends. If you refuse to believe there is a problem with our current approach to student minsitry then lets move on...no more debating. If you do buy into the reality that things need to change then come on over to a new thread I will be posting and we can all start discussing some other options.
     
  3. David Lamb

    David Lamb Active Member

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    Have you (or the leaders of your church) asked any of these young people why they have suddenly stopped coming? If not, surely that is the first thing to be done, before giving thought to changing your "student ministry". If it has been done, and if it would not be breaking any confidences, could you tell us some of the reasons have been given?
     
  4. Shortandy

    Shortandy New Member

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    Where do you begin to answer that question? According Barna, The Nehemiah Institute and anythers a primary reason is poor discipleship in student minsitry. These kids don't know what they believe while others don't know why they believe. With the 20 somethings in my area I would have to say the top answer to that question is usually some post-modern "Im ok, your ok, we are all ok" type of answer. These kids get to college and get picked apart by some anthropology or sociology professor and they turn against the church.

    While there are othe answers to this question I would say I have given you the top reasons...at least the top reasons I have heard. But Im curious why you ask.
     
  5. pk07

    pk07 New Member

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    Have you ever thought that maybe it's not the church's fault that these kids are leaving it? It's their choice whether they come or not. We could throw Scripture at them all the time, encouraging them to come, but if they lack a real commitment to God, then they will eventually stop coming. It's not the youth program that is driving kids away, but it is their own decision. The church has no power over the kids' own whims.
     
  6. FriendofSpurgeon

    FriendofSpurgeon Well-Known Member
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    I think you're right -- a lot of it kids not being grounded in their faith and not having a Christian world view. Also, many times it's the case of kids going to church with their parents (because they have to) for all those years & then taking a break when they finally get a chance. While many may return to the faith, many do not.
     
  7. David Lamb

    David Lamb Active Member

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    I'm really not trying to be facetious when I say that I'm curious why you are curious about my reason for asking the question. If any Christian suddenly stopped going to the services of the church they belong to, it seems to me that the first response of the church is to find out why this has happened. Asking what is wrong with the "youth ministry" might turn out to be an important subsequent question the church (any church, not yours in particular) needs to face, but that would depend on the reasons given for leaving. If the answer shows that they are believing false doctrine (post-modernism, for instance), could that not indicate that the general teaching ministry of the church (rather than just the "youth ministry") needs to be looked at? (I hope you don't mean that young Christians do not hear the "normal" preaching/teaching ministry. :) ) From what you say, some of these young people don't even really know what it means to be a Christian, and certainly it sounds as if they are not aware of the responsibilities and privileges of church membership.
     
  8. David Lamb

    David Lamb Active Member

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    But if they have been attending church services all those years only because there parents made them do so, do they actually have faith? If not, they might return to church-going in later life, and they might come to faith, but they cannot return to the faith, can they?
     
  9. rbell

    rbell Active Member

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    Well, I'm bothered by the fact that you feel as if you can speak for every youth ministry, everywhere. You've been in every single church that ministers to students? You know precisely what they do, how they approach it, and how God is leading them? You're entirely within bounds to say "I need to change my student ministry approach." You are out of bounds to suggest that all of us have it wrong. You don't know us, or our ministries.

    I'm the author of "even Christ didn't get 100%." But, you've taken my quote completely out of context. Read my post in its entirety, and that quote takes on a different light.

    Now...that' s not "hiding" behind anything. That's the truth.
     
  10. Shortandy

    Shortandy New Member

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    I stand by my statement. Your are offended it seems and I can see why. I don't like it when people suggest I am wrong either. So examine the youth ministry at you church. Go through and find membership roles and see how many 20 somethings are really attending and active. If I am wrong praise the Lord for your church. But I think you might be shocked at what you really find.
     
  11. Shortandy

    Shortandy New Member

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    Some wonderful statements my friend. You are right we have to ask the right questions if we are ever going to come to the right answers.
     
  12. Shortandy

    Shortandy New Member

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    Of course free-will has to be taken into consideration. So does the reality that every ministry will have some false-converts. Still these numbers are alarmingly high! These kids don't have a strong foundation due to lax teaching and worldly methods. I many, certainly not all, the church is failing these students.
     
  13. rbell

    rbell Active Member

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    I did (do) go through, and I posted the percentages earlier.

    I'm not offended, and I don't mind being told I'm wrong...but it should come from someone that has some semblance of knowledge about me and my ministry. You don't.
     
  14. GrapeApe

    GrapeApe New Member

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    I'm not Baptist, but I assume the way you do things cannot be any different than the majority.

    Losing teenagers is inevitable. College and a driver's license being the primary cause for that. It's something you can never prevent, all you can do is make sure they have a foundation in Christ before they leave. That is your responsibility while they're your student and under your teaching and guidance.

    Churches should stop caring about statistics and focus primarily on the effectiveness of their message.

    It's common sense that the quantity would decrease when teenagers reach a certain age where they want to begin their own life. Which typically means moving, college, job occupations, and so on. And all of that requires time. Time, that before all of that, was easy to manage.

    We focus too much on the negatives and never encourage the positives. I don't see how worrying about the quantity of students your youth group has is going to increase that number, it's only going to increase when you're willing to do something about it.
     
  15. Shortandy

    Shortandy New Member

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    How effective is the message of a student ministry if we are loosing so many? Furthermore it should make sense that the numbers decrease. We should expect faithfulness for any person that has made a profession of faith in Christ. Can't make excuses for them simply because they are young my friends. By the way moving away doesn't matter. These students are not attended a church in the places they are moving. And while I agree that we should not be consumed by numbers and percentages we most certainly need to measure and see how effective any ministry is.
     
  16. pk07

    pk07 New Member

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    I'll use my own youth group as an example. The teacher puts so much time into preparing a lesson for the kids, praying for each and every one of them. When it comes time to meet, she allows some time for them to play around with foosball or ping pong, but then gets into the lesson. Being under her for several years, I know her lessons to be thought provoking, Biblically based, and potentially life changing. But sitting in class with the other teens, I was disgusted at how they disregarded every word she said. Many would whisper to each other during prayer, text message under the table, or try their absolute best to distract her and get her off topic. And yes, after a while, they would leave one by one and never come back.

    It is my opinion that it is not the teacher's fault that these kids eventually leave. Sure, they didn't have a strong foundation in the Word of God, but that is not something that a teacher can change with only two hours a week. No matter how much they are encouraged, it is up to them to read their Bible and get to know God for themselves. It is because they don't WANT a relationship with God that they leave the church and never come back, not because the church has failed them in some way.
     
  17. GrapeApe

    GrapeApe New Member

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    You're not acknowledging the fact that losing teenagers is unavoidable. You cannot seriously expect teens to remain in youth group once they're old enough to being their own life. A youth groups place is to teach the student firstly to accept and Christ and their Lord, and secondly to build that foundation everyday in their walk with Him.

    It's the same battle getting kids to stay as it is getting kids to come. Once they do come, it is your job to relay Christ' message to them in the best way you're capable of doing, teaching them how to remain in the faith and to build their foundation in Christ.

    The rest is up to them and their personal choice. You can't force God on anyone.

    Just because they move doesn't mean they're giving up on God.

    Church isn't the only source for a relationship with God, either. Last I checked, He was infinite and all present.

    Simply because your ministry isn't exploding with large numbers doesn't mean you're not being effective.

    Would you rather have a small group who is more determined on a long term relationship with God, or a large group who could care less?
     
  18. SBCPreacher

    SBCPreacher Active Member
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    I'd rather have the small group who are interested in growing! And, then teach these committed Christians to reach their friends for Christ.
     
  19. joyce

    joyce New Member

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    It is not just the youth not attending church, but those of all ages and if the youth are not attending, the parents are to blame. For it is the mother's responsibility to train her children up in the way they should go and the father is supposed to be the head of the family and is supposed to see that his children go to church. What I am seeing a lot of is that grandparents are seeing that their grandchildren make it to church. I have two grandchildren, age 9 and 10; both are saved, both love church and both attend, their grandparents see that they go on both sides of the family. They are a joy to listen to, as they often ask other children "are you saved" and then witness to them. We are approaching the rapture I believe, and just before the rapture, there is to be a falling away and I think we are seeing that at all levels, not just at the children's level, our church seems to have quite a few little ones and we have excellent youth pastors.
    YSIC
    Joyce
     
  20. ZBs

    ZBs New Member

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    As one of the concerned fallen college students, I'd like to throw in my thoughts on the matter.

    I went to the same church from age 7 to 17; I graduated a year early, and moved up into the "College and Career" class along with the grade ahead of me.
    Since most of my own class had moved out of state by then, I didn't leave any close friends behind.

    Both my last youth class and my C&C class were led by intelligent young couples with young children of their own. I enjoyed all the times that I could spend alone with them, discussing futures, spiritual matters, and whathaveyou. It was fun.

    But, since i stopped attending 6 months into my freshman year, obviously something was "up" with the situation. Annnd this is it:
    Very simply, I left the group, because my peers were stuck in high-school--even the 24 year old. When we discussed anything, they used the same lines they'd been taught from birth, never looking outside of their teachers' lessons for information.
    We took up the "Truth Project" series, which promised spectacular revelations and delivery of a rock-hard conviction in our faith.
    Of course, it wasn't, and didn't. The course worked from the view-point that we were all 100% sold on what we'd been taught all our lives, and I wasn't any longer; I had formulated some doubts, mostly stemming from the fact that I think too hard.

    But the videos were fine, compared to the "discussion" that the other attendees provided... They agreed on all points so much, that even the instructor grew tired of their conformity. He was not raised Christian, and came to faith in his twenties, thus allowing him and I the "meaty" discussion I so craved.

    After attending the meetings for months, only for the talks we had before and after the others came and left, I finally lost interest in it all. I went to a different church for a few months, and eventually stopped going to any altogether.

    Since then, I've attended services a number of times which can be counted on my fingers--mostly for the church's 50th anniversary, and my BFF's birthday.
    Asides from that, I don't have much dealing with any of them, nor any other religious organization.
     
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