Almost Christian by Kenda Creasy DeanThese are not easy reads, nor are they fun and inspiring. The data is sad, and sorta scary. If what these studies suggest is true, we need to wake up and make some changes. I'm encouraged by the conversations I hear in churches and amongst youth workers who are taking these studies seriously, but I'm wondering what other ideas are out there...Is there hope that we can turn the trends in the other direction and put our energy and efforts into ministries that will cultivate lasting faith in the lives of the young people with which God has entrusted us? Will we be honest about ministries and programs of which we are a part that desperately need to be changed or ended? In the world of youth ministry, "That's the way we've always done," just isn't cutting any more.
Sticky Faith by Chap Clark and Kara Powell
Souls in Transition by Christian Smith
You Lost Me by David Kinnaman
I have an idea. It's not a fix, not fool proof, and not the end all be all. It's an idea. It's something that could address this concern for some students, and it has to do with the concept of a "Gap Year." A Gap Year takes place between high school graduation and college studies, and is not a new idea. Let's face it, some of, if not most of, our students are not immediately ready for college or "real life" after high school. And apparently they aren't prepared and equipped for life after youth group either.
The Evangelical Covenant Church used to have a solution of sorts for this; it was called Covenant Bible College, and it was successful for many years serving students on 3 campuses. Unfortunately, as you may have deciphered, these campuses are all closed. What can we offer students today?