The Red Bull Gospel
Thankfully there are youth ministries trying to turn the tide. Faithbridge church in Houston, Texas, is one example. "We don't pour much effort into planning big hoorah events," says lead student pastor Dylan Lucas. "We're really focused on the Word and leadership training."
The ministry pairs small groups of five to seven teens with adult leaders, and then provides those leaders with intensive training. "We equip these leaders to teach. The youth pastor can't do it all," says Lucas.
Follow-up is another focus. "Our job doesn't end at graduation," Lucas says. "We call that 'Day One.'" Each graduate leaving for college receives a $10 Starbucks gift card with the following instructions: go find a spiritual mentor on campus to take out for coffee.
"We keep tabs on them," Lucas says. "We have relationships with their families, and we bring them back to help lead the next generation."
Of course not all graduates stay on the straight and narrow. "When we see someone go off, we don't ignore it," Lucas says. "You have to pick up the phone and make that awkward call."
Drew Dyck is managing editor of Leadership Journal and author of Generation Ex-Christian.
Copyright © 2011 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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Drew Dyck is managing editor of Leadership Journal