Tag Archive | Students

Five Reasons Why Students Stop Showing Up

Five Reasons Why Students Stop Showing Up
Tarance Crayford

You might say the hardest part of ministry is just getting students to show up. I’d say it is more difficult to try to figure out WHY students aren’t showing up. I want to share with you 5 reasons why students stop showing up and what you can do about it.

1. Everything is predictable. We live in a world that is constantly changing. It’s moving at such a fast pace. Old things are being replaced with new things, and what worked 10 years ago doesn’t work any longer. Church leaders don’t seem to get this. We move at a slower pace, aren’t apt to change, or still take stock in last year’s offerings. The truth is we’ve become boring and predictable…and teens lose interest quick. Action item: Take as much time each week to think through the environment you are creating as you do on the message or program itself.

2. No welcome mat. Teens typically want to know “who” is going to be present before they attend an event or program, right? Now think about the student who doesn’t know anyone. Are you doing everything to make them feel welcome? If your leaders don’t take time to learn someone’s name and give attention to the attendee, they won’t be an attendee for long. Sometimes, we spend too much time talking “at” teens (from the stage) and not enough time talking “with” teens. Let’s face it; no one likes to be ignored. Action item: Learn 3 to 5 names this week (whether current students or guests).

3. Dislike! I visited a church one time and the pastor literally said to me, “If I weren’t the pastor, I would leave this event.” Sometimes, we don’t have to say anything because our face or body language communicate that we dislike our own programs. If we don’t get excited about our own event, we can’t expect students to magically feel the same way. Action item: Focus a little extra time this week planning the one or two elements of your program you most enjoy. Chances are the additional investment in these elements will excite you.

4. No challenge. I’ll never forget a student saying to me a long time ago, “I don’t need (or want) to be entertained at youth group. I want to be challenged.” Even though you might argue that most teens don’t feel this way, I’d respectfully disagree. Students want to “enjoy” youth group, but they want to be challenged. I think we are ministering to a generation of students who want to live out a radical faith…and if we don’t challenge them to do so through our conversations or teaching, they will be more likely to find it elsewhere. Action item: Don’t challenge students to do something you aren’t doing yourself. You must accept the challenge first!

5. The problem isn’t you. Youth pastors get blamed for many things. Sometimes, we put the blame on ourselves. Over the years, I’ve probably been hardest on myself when I thought a student stopped showing up because of me. We must realize that, in many cases, the problem isn’t us to begin with. Sometimes, teenagers don’t show up because of circumstances outside of our control. I’ll offer 3 possibilities here: the student is involved in extra curricular activities and cannot come, they cannot get a ride to church, or my personal favorite, the kid is grounded from church! Action item: Continue to reach out to teenagers who aren’t regularly attending. Students need to know you care about them regardless of whether or not they are present for your program.

The above article, “Five Top Reasons Why Teens Stop Showing Up,” is written by Terrance Crawford. The article was retrieved from www.youthministry.com on October of 2010.

The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study and research purposes.

Posted in AIS File Library, YMGE - Youth Ministry0 Comments

Dropouts and Disciples: How Many Students are Really Leaving the Church?

Dropouts and Disciples: How Many Students are Really Leaving the Church?
Ed Stetzer

Are students leaving the church in droves? What can we do to stop the bleeding?
Dropout is a key word in today’s evangelical churches concerning teenagers and young adults. The quote often sounds like this: “86% of evangelical youth drop out of church after graduation, never to return.” The problem with that statement (and others around that number) is that it’s not true. But that doesn’t mean there is no reason for concern.

LifeWay Research data shows that about 70% of young adults who indicated they attended church regularly for at least one year in high school do, in fact, drop out—but don’t miss the details. Of those who left, almost two-thirds return and currently attend church (in the timeframe of our study). Also, that dropout rate is from all Protestant churches—evangelical and mainline.

Church attendance among teens and young adults follows some important patterns. There are always some coming and some going. Yet something significant happens between the ages of 17 and 19 that accounts for the vast majority of those who leave. At age 17, the twice- monthly attendance of our study sample drops as follows:
* 16–17, drop 10%
* 17–18, drop 14%
* 18–19, drop 13%

Between 17 and 19 is where the drop takes place. Our study was of those who attended regularly for at least a year in high school—so our sample is not representative of all teens and young adults, but clearly something is happening in that age range.
In most cases, our surveys show a lack of intentionality in dropping out. Eighty percent of young people who dropped out of church said they did not plan to do so during high school. It’s not that most rejected the church. Our teenagers aren’t primarily leaving because they have significant disagreements with their theological upbringing or out of some sense of rebellion. For the most part, they simply lose track of the church and stop seeing it as important to their life.

What Works?
Statistically, we found four factors that were the most predictive in determining which teenagers stayed in church:
* I wanted the church to help guide my decisions in everyday life (prior to 18).
* My parents were still married to each other and both attended church (prior to 18).
* The pastor’s sermons were relevant to my life (prior to 18).
* At least one adult from church made a significant investment in me personally and spiritually (between 15 and 18).

What Now?
Dropout doesn’t have to be a key word. We can replace it with something far better. When teenagers see an active, practiced faith in their parents and other positive examples at church, they will stop being dropouts and start being disciples.

1. Disciple, disciple, disciple. If your student ministry is a four-year holding tank with pizza, don’t expect young adults to stick around. If, however, they see biblical teaching as relevant and see the church as essential to their decisions, they stay.

2. Have a home with committed Christian parents. According to the USC study I referenced earlier, 74% of married couples who were both evangelicals also had kids who were evangelical. I was raised by a single mom who loved the Lord and I’m so thankful for those who do, but parents (together) make a significant statistical impact.

3. Recognize that it takes a church to raise a committed young adult—involve other adults in the discipleship process. This is where student pastors, volunteers, and other adults being invested in the lives of teenagers can be so important.

No, the dropout numbers are not nearly as bad as many would have you think, but there are still way too many students who fail to see the significance of the church moving forward into early adulthood. But there are things we can do to change that.

The above article, “Dropouts and Disciples: How many students are really leaving the church?” was written by Ed Stetzer. The article was excerpted from www.christianitytoday.com web site. December 2016.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

Posted in AIS File Library, YMGE - Youth Ministry0 Comments

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