Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Making The Wrong Conclusion
Evangelical churches do a better job than mainline churches in keeping their young people in the faith, probably because they invest more money in youth ministry, says a Duke University professor who studies characteristics of American congregations.OK - I'm calling hogwash here. There is no evidence presented that it is about money, or even that it is about staff - there is just retention data, the rest is speculation.
But as long as we are speculating - let's consider some other factors. It's a story as old as the hills. Youth find church irrelevant, un-hip, dated, not for them, I could go on.
Originally we responded with the parachurch. YFC, Campus Crusade, Young Life all rose to pull youth back into the church. Once churches got a load of the success they were having, they started to adopt similar youth ministry models. Its just that since non-denominational churches had less bureaucratic impediment to making such sweeping changes, they staked the ground out first and better.
But here is the problem. The parachurch never succeeded in the call to church - they only succeeded in the call to parachurch. Churches that have adopted the same youth ministry models have succeeded mostly in having to transform church to look like youth ministry to gain the retention figures.
I have said it many time - what passes for worship these days resembles a Young Life club on amazing levels. It appeals, but it does not mature. Kind of like television that.
I have serious questions about how well we are making disciples, and how much we are simply lowering the bar. We have found a new way to get them to come to the pool, but now its so shallow can we say we have taught them how to swim?