I discovered a new blog this morning via Marko. The long and the short of it is that Once A Youth Pastor has some good thoughts on ministry–and asks some of the same tough questions we’re asking among ourselves. In his Indicators of Longevity post, I found the following:
"2/3 of the students active in our youth ministry walk away from their faith within a year of graduating high school…What became evident really quickly was the effect of parents on the faith-development process. I realize that this entire process is a bit subjective and nonscientific, but what I discovered was enough to indicate a real pattern.
We lose 25% of kids who have 2 Christian parents and Dad takes the spiritual lead.
We lose 50% of kids who have 2 Christian parents and Mom takes the spiritual lead.
We lose 66% of kids who have a Christian Dad only
We lose 75% of kids who have a Christian Mom only
We lose 90% of kids who have no Christian parents"
While those statistics are, well…statistics, and we all know what Mark Twain says about statistics, I’d venture to say that they’d be pretty accurate nationwide, in and of themselves. At least, that’s the trend we’re seeing in the college years.
But what author Tony Waal points out is the common denominator of kids who’ve ‘stuck with it’…they all had a spiritual mentor. (And youth workers didn’t seem to count!) Without exception, each one had a spiritual father (or mother) that they walked with in their journey. Every Timothy had a Paul. Every Paul had a Silas. And each one was OUTSIDE the youth group. Parents. Young adults. Senior adults.
I could rant again about the failures of a me-centered gospel or an isolationist Christianity which doesn’t embrace real community with the larger church. But until I can find a way out, I won’t.
I’ll just put it in my pipe and smoke it.