One challenge facing congregations today is the number of young people who, after being raised in the church, drop out once they reach adulthood. What is happening?
What is the role of the church in helping them remain active participants in Christ’s body?
A joint video produced by SMM (the girls’ ministries arm of Women of Grace USA) and GBB (Grace Brethren Boys) points to some staggering statistics* that may provide a clue to how churches can invest in producing the greatest impact:
– Young people admit to being highly influenced by their role models and actively seeking more such examples.
– Nearly 44 percent of all pre-teens admit they don’t have any role models.
– A person’s moral values are in place by age nine.
– The greatest opportunity for reaching an individual for Christ is before age 12.
– Only six percent of people 19 or older embrace Jesus as their Savior.
– Spiritual identity is largely set in place by age 13.
– Four out of five current church leaders were involved in church life and training prior to age 13.
Believing that the mentoring and discipleship process of children and youth is important, SMM and GBB are planning a Focus on Discipleship day March 13 at the Grace Brethren Church of Wooster, Ohio (Bob Fetterhoff, pastor).
“It’s a chance for those who work with children and youth to fi nd ways to partner in developing strong followers of Christ,” say Rob Gable and Viki Rife, directors of GBB and SMM, respectively. The day will feature breakout and discussion groups. Guest speakers include CE National Ambassadors Stacie Fay and Sarah Knepper, as well as Mark Artrip, high school ministries pastor at Grace Church, a Grace Brethren church in Powell, Ohio.
To see the joint video or to receive a DVD copy, visit gbbnational.com. Keep an eye on fgbcworld-blog.com, FGBCWorld.com, CE National News, gbbnational.com, or wgusa.org/discipleship for details of this great opportunity to learn more about how God can strengthen our young people through relationships.
*George Barna, Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions: Why Children Should Be Your Church’s #1 Priority, Regal Books, 2003