Growing After Graduation

growing-in-faithRemember all that hype about the 5%?

I think I heard it like this. “Do you know that only 5% of Christian students actually keep their faith when they graduate from high school?”

Really? 5%?

Someone said it once, printed it, and it became “research.” I’ve heard all kinds of numbers, some of them unbelievable, some of them from solid research and really sobering. But numbers aside, anyone who has worked in youth ministry for any length of time can attest to one undeniable truth: too many kids walk away from their faith, stop plugging in with other believers or stop attending church after high school.

So that begs the question, how do we help kids grow in their faith so they continue their faith journey, growing and fellowshipping after graduation?

A couple thoughts:

  1. Gospel Advancing Ministry: My friend Greg Stier is going to be teaching a free webinar this Thursday teaching us how to implement the best practices and values that fuel a ministry rooted in the Gospel message. I love Greg’s stuff (I still contend that his Gospel Journey Maui is one of the best evangelism training tools you can use in your youth group)… and I love free. So this free webinar is a no-brainer. Jump on THIS PAGE and sign up.
  2. Ministry by Teenagers: Jim Burns, in his classic book The Youth Builder, compelled us to ask a poignant question: “Are we creating spectators of the kingdom or participators and servants for the kingdom?” That’s a great question. What would happen if we gave teenagers opportunities to serve and use their gifts in ministry prior to high school graduation? What if we pour into these young leaders, disciple them, and do ministry alongside of them instead of for them? What if we ease back on our ministry to teenagers, supplementing it with more ministry by teenagers?
  3. Glean from others in the field: Don’t try to do this alone. Make a proactive effort to network with other youth workers in your area, dialogue about this and exchange ideas. Attend youth ministry conferences, take advantage of free webcasts (like Greg’s above), free training tools, and build up your youth ministry library with resources helping you not only introduce students to Jesus, but help them grow closer to him and navigate life day to day (last week I devoted a whole blog post to some of my favorite resources helping you do this).

Don’t fall into the trap of just “running program” week after week. Take a step back, look at the different types of kids in the community around you and ask yourself, “What am I doing to reach out to kids who don’t know Jesus? What am I doing to help the kids who know Jesus actually grow in their faith?”

What does this look like in your ministry?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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One Response to Growing After Graduation

  1. Jonathan,
    I agree about students serving while in high school but right now our church is wrestling with volunteer security concerns like 2 adults 18 or over in a room so it is a challenge for our students to volunteer with the children’s ministry for example. How do you balance safety while releasing these students to ministry?