After serving for 8 years in collegiate ministry on a university campus, I have seen the disturbing trend of “churched” high school students dropping out of church soon after their involvement in collegiate life. I’ve posted here a few times about some of my conclusions about that, but I appreciate Earl Creps’ comments over at MMI. He offers a sampling of some previously held conclusions by different viewpoints. Here they are:
• The 75% number is bogus. (Some claim that assertions of such a high drop-out rate are a result of poor studies. That may be, but my personal observations are that the statistic is accurate.)
• The cliff may be more of a “turn in the road.” (Students are not actually marching off a cliff of non-church but simply redirecting their spiritual involvement and interest.)
• Why focus on teens when our adults are no better? (A good assertion. Although their parents may still be in church, it may be no more than tradition or familial connections that keep them there and not a vibrant devotion to Christ.)
• The drop-off is a function of family dynamics. (I would wholeheartedly agree.)
• Students are there for the relationships. (Uh… well, yes!)
• The students are living out the inherent flaws of youth ministry. (I would agree with this as well.)
I’d encourage you to read his entry in its entirety and comment there and here to keep the conversation going.