Last week, I shared with you the results of a study by Steven Henderson regarding kids who grow up attending church and participating in a church youth group.
It’s a 200-page report, but here is the main conclusion:
Nearly two-thirds of kids who profess to be born-again Christians when they enter college will no longer profess that by the time they finish college.
Mr. Henderson suggests the reason so many young people fall away is because “most students are unprepared for the conflict of worldviews they will encounter at non-Christian colleges.”
Mr. Henderson offers a number of recommendations – for students, their parents, and the church.
§ Make sure your high school youth group has depth to it, not just fun & games
§ After high school, consider attending a Christian college or university (at least for the 1st year)
§ During your 1st semester at college, get connected with a church and attend services regularly
§ Participate in a small group either on campus or through your new church
§ In the selection of a college, weigh the spiritual risks of attending a secular university alongside the (usually higher) financial costs
§ Encourage and assist your child in getting connected with a church and small group
§ Stay involved with your child while away at school
§ Be aware of the data (% of kids who fall away) and take it seriously
§ Be intentional about preparing students for college and the issues they are likely to face
§ Provide continual support to students who are away at college
§ Encourage students to consider a Christian college or university
§ Enable high school students to experience a small group so they’ll be more likely to participate in one during college
It’s possible our kids have done better at college (in other words, fewer than two-thirds have fallen away), but I really don’t have any statistics to back that up. Certainly, we’ve seen a number of our kids blossom spiritually while at college. Nick Freml is a good example. (Wasn’t his testimony on Sunday awesome!)
Regardless of our exact track record, I think we need to pay attention to Mr. Henderson’s recommendations for the church. We also need to be aware that FEWER & FEWER high school students profess to be born-again.
I wish we could rest on our laurels, but we can’t. Please pray for God’s wisdom as we prepare to gear up our youth ministry for a new year.