Saturday, November 08, 2008

Maybe the Kids are not our Future?

STR has posted a great link with interviews of new college students asking if their youth group experience prepared them for college. The interviews were done by CPYU. Here is one telling excerpt from the interviews.

CPYU: As you reflect on your church youth group experience, what are some things you wish your youth group would have done more of to prepare you for college?

Alysia: My youth group was fairly useless in preparing me for college. A short course in different religions helped me, but what helped me more was attending Worldview Academy for two summers. The challenging of my faith and teaching me the apologetics, leadership, and evangelism helped the most--especially by helping me determine why I personally believed in Christianity and by giving me the tools to help share that with others.

CPYU: Understanding the challenges that college life brings, what are some things you wish your youth group would have done less of?

Alysia: My youth group was a place where the leaders were trying everything from games to parties to entice people to come, but they wouldn't dive deep into any theological or social topic. We were treated as intellectual babies and thus never grew to understand the importance or the relevance of the Christian faith. College provides ample opportunities to challenge a person's faith without offering a safe environment to handle questioning why you believe what you do. I wish that my youth group had done less games and forcing people to be there and had done more training us in deeper matters that we would find more useful. The youth group at my church has since started to change its focus toward those deeper matters and is giving the new youth tools to help them understand how to interact with culture as Christians. When they started this their attendance numbers grew. I wish that the change had happened sooner. The leaders of my youth group needed to stop trying their best to draw people to the group and allow God and the Bible to touch people's lives. The leaders did not allow God room to work.

I don’t think I could have scripted or wished for a better answer as to what is wrong with our youth group culture. As a college/young adult associate pastor, I once tried to implement worldview curriculum across the age-specific ministries of the church, and the only age to balk was the youth pastor. He was sure his kids would never need that kind of thing.

If you have a youth pastor, send him or her this link and then follow up.

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