Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do Youth Ministries Cause Problems for the Church?

In this interview, researcher Kara Powell makes an interesting observation. One of the reason we are losing our young people from attending church is due to our approach of age-segregation ministries. We separate people into ages-group activities when they are young and then expect them to attend church when they are older. Will age-segregation ministries goes the way of homogeneous unit principle? My mentor, Dr Allan Harkness, which researches in intergenerational ministries will be happy to hear this.

Is the Era of Age Segmentation Over?
A researcher argues that the future of youth ministry will require bringing the generations together.
An Interview with Kara Powell posted 9/18/2009

Is the Era of Age Segmentation Over?

The statistics are grim. Rainer Research estimates that 70 percent of young people leave the church by age 22. Barna Group argues that the figure increases to 80 percent by age 30. The Southern Baptist Convention, America's largest denomination, recently observed that growth in their churches is failing to keep up with the birth rate. Taken together, these findings suggest a startling fact: not only are we failing to attract younger worshipers, we're not holding on to the ones we have.

As executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary and a former youth pastor, Kara Powell has her eyes on the youth drop out trend. She is currently in the midst of a three-year College Transition Project, a study that involves over 400 youth group graduates and is focused on understanding how parents, churches, and youth ministries can set students on a trajectory of lifelong faith and service. Though research is ongoing, it is already revealing a promising pattern: youth involved in intergenerational relationships in church are showing promise for stronger faith in high school and beyond.

Leadership editors Marshall Shelley and Brandon O'Brien spoke with Kara about her research and what it means for the local church.

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