i'm so sick and tired of hearing the statistic of teens who are plugged into church / youth group as a teen and then they vanish from the scene after graduation. if you've been around the youth ministry world for long, you've heard it a thousand different times (and the percentage usually gets higher every time). i agree... it's a major issue we need to address and fight. and that we all can do things to better equip our students for the big transition into young adulthood. our youth ministries need to evaluate and tweak their transition initiatives more, and our adult ministries need to stop talking about being more relevant to the emerging generation and actually be it.
but i'm a little troubled by how many are using this statistic.
more and more seem to be using it to sell a product... whether it's a book, or a dvd set, or a small group curriculum...it's all about the product in the end. just today i got a letter in the mail promoting 2 new christian video games, and in paragraph 2 they inserted the classic quote from josh mcdowell and the age old statistic. maybe i'm just naive and ignorant, but i hardly think an alternative video game will keep our 20-somethings coming to church.
more and more seem to be using it to sell a paradigm... that the whole way we approach and do youth ministry is wrong. attractional vs. missional... family ministry vs. youth ministry... large group preaching vs. experiential learning. yada yada yada ...out with the old and in with the new.
again, i do believe we need to consistently evaluate and tweak our ministries so that we can position our students in the best possible way. but i'm just tired of people flinging this statistic around to get something marginally related to go their way. stop it, people!