Need? What need?
Since I’ve been in ministry, I have always had a desire to read and learn theology and doctrine. Even though I am ashamed to admit this, I have not had the inkling for church history and church traditions as much as I have theology and doctrine.
I have been a student minister for 4 years already, and it seems as if the church is producing or creating a student that has absolutely no idea what they believe and why.
“9 out of 10 students leave the church after they graduate high school.”
I hate using statistics because most of them are really relative to different places or cultures. However, even the most lenient of statistic about this problem says:
“5 out of 10 students end up being inactive in church after they graduate high school.”
Statistics can be fluid sometimes, but either way they are posing an issue in the American church and that is the issue of retaining our youth after they graduate. This brings us to the reality of the entire problem: our kids do not know what they believe and that is why they are leaving in droves when they graduate high school.
In many student ministries across the country, we are doing nothing but housing students with pizza and games until they graduate from high school. When they graduate, they are leaving with little to no foundation of biblical principles. They literally have no idea what they believe. They have no idea who Jesus really is.
This is why I believe in teaching doctrine and apologetics to our students. This is why I believe in parents taking a major role in the faith formation of their children. Too many times, parents of teenagers are depending on the church to do what only they can do for their children. Churches do not form the faith of students, their parents do. At most, if we are as lenient as we can be, our congregants and students are in our churches no more than four hours a week. To put this in perspective, here is the ratio of the number of hours in church to the number of hours not in church: 4:168.
2.3% of your week is spent at church. The other 97.7% is spent doing other things. This is why family worship and discipleship should be a priority is because doing anything only 4 hours a week gets you nowhere.
But when we get our students in those four hours per week, we need to pour into their lives. We need to help them understand what they believe and why because when they go to college and take their first philosophy class, they will be raked over the coals if they are not careful. Proving the Bible is true by saying something to the effect of “You just have to have some faith” doesn’t prove anything. It’s more than that. It takes time, effort, diligence, and study. Yes, even studying.
Student minister, help your students understand what they believe and why. It will not only help their knowledge and worldview, but also it will help yours.
What is worth more to us? Kids liking us, or kids staying in a right relationship with Jesus? I hope you will choose the latter.