Kids need to be integrated into the whole life of the church
This morning’s paper reports that churchgoers in a Cape Cod town tackled a would-be robber who tried to steal a collection box during a worship service. Officers arrived to find the 45-year-old being held on the ground by parishioners who had tackled him and ripped off his mask. Wouldn’t it be great if all churchgoers were that enthusiastic about running after and tackling those things that threaten to steal our young people away from the church? Research shows that 7 out of 8 young people leave the church by the time they are 22 years old. Chances are we don’t even really notice it until long after it happens. Huh? Where did all the kids go?
What if we, as the church, were as intentional about guarding our precious youth (and building them into disciples of Christ) as we are about guarding our money? Certainly we don’t want to lock the children away in a vault…or carry them out of the sanctuary at a certain moment in the service to go sit in another room (oops! I guess we do that sometimes, don’t we?). But what if we found ways to connect our young people to lots of mature, Christian adults in the church who would serve as an extended youth pastor? What if we involved them in worship rather than plunked them down in the pews and then told them to “hush up” and “be still”? In his book, “Family-Based Youth Ministry”, youth pastor and ministry consultant Mark DeVries observes that, “Over the last century, churches and parachurch youth ministries alike have increasingly (and often unwittingly) held to a single strategy that has become the most common characteristic of this model: the isolation of teenagers from the adult world and particularly from their own parents.” No wonder so many kids “grow out of” church when they “grow out of” the youth group!
At The LOGOS Ministry, we hold to a model that seeks to deepen relationships between young people and lots of adults in the church that bridge over to corporate worship where children and youth participate and lead, not just observe. It’s not the only way to hold onto our kids…but it’s certainly one way. What approach have you been using?