The statistics of students leaving the church soon after “graduating” from youth ministry are well-documented and widespread. I don’t feel like finding and posting links right now, but they’re out there. Anyone who has been in youth ministry long enough to see kids graduate and then fall away knows this trend, even if only anecdotally. As of recently, I’ve come under the conviction that youth ministry’s obvious failures will only get “fixed” when churches begin to re-think their ecclesiology. Because we are all one body, one spirit, one baptism, a failure in one part of us reflects shortcomings in the whole.
Today I found two posts (here and here) that touch on this topic both from youth workers more experienced than I. Believe me, the book that Marko says needs to be written has run through my head a few times. Unfortunately, I have neither the experience, education, nor the time to pursue that at this time. But I will continue to reflect on our churches theology and ecclesiology and determine if there are things we can do to help make lifelong followers of Jesus of the youth that we serve.