I just finished reading a study done in Canada called Hemorrhaging faith. The hope of the study was to understand "why & when Canadian young adults are leaving, staying and returning to the Church."
Now my assumption is that the information contained within the study could be fairly accurate in the US as well (perhaps different percentages but our teens are very similar).
The study in my mind has no unknown information, but it packages it quite well and helps us extrapolate some thoughts that may have been blurry.
It seems evident when we talk about young people and church, that we need to talk about the church getting smaller. But what we forget to talk about is not why or how we can control the bleeding, but rather how can we increase the numbers not keep them from leaving.
As a Church (universal) we have tackled issues such as "church is too feminine", "what type of music should we play", "church is to masculine". But what about the issue that church is not a place where young people feel connected.
Sure kids and students go because their families go but would they go if it was just themselves. Some would and I know two students who have no family affiliation with church and are passionate about going and being part of the body. But the majority of my students find it hard to engage and feel part of the body.
When I look at an organisation such as Young Life, they draw students in like crazy. Students want to be a part of the body of Young Life. My criticism for young life is they don't plug students in enough and there is little discipleship in most of the regions I know. But they know how to draw in students and help them find Jesus.
Or take a non-christian cause look at the Occupy Wall Street protests or the Kony campaign. People wanted to be a part of a movement. People wanted to belong to something.
What are some ways that we could learn from organisations like Young Life? How can we glean ideas from Occupy Wall Street or the Kony Campaign?
How can we as a church become a place where we aren't concerned about young people leaving, rather we are concerned we need to find ways to be a part of all the lives pouring in?