The statistics of youth leaving the church are astounding. In The Last Christian Generation, Josh McDowell claimed that 94% of churched students are leaving their faith after they graduate from high school. These alarming statistics have caused many to deem youth ministry a failing model and to wonder what makes a difference in those students who stay.
The difference maker is relationships of impact. Students that have stayed in church are those who had significant relationships with adults that were strong believers outside of their parents. This is where the youth leader’s role is essential in the life of a student. Concerned and caring adults can be the ones to help point teens to Jesus by being there for them and modeling the faith before them. This is what truly makes a difference in the life of a student.
This makes the goal of youth ministry really simple. We don’t have to be the most brilliant theologians, engaging Sunday school teachers, or the most cool leaders. We simply are called to love students and point them to Jesus. He is the One who makes the eternal difference in their lives. Our job is simply to be real about the struggles of life and faith and how Jesus intersects those troubles with His grace.