Many people spend tons of time looking at the statistics of how teens respond to the church when they graduate and head to college. The statistics can be discouraging and we are all trying to find ways to help teens discover faith in Jesus that endures beyond high school. Here is one idea that we all need to begin to embrace. If we want teens to be a part of the church after high school then we better connect them to the church during high school. If teens are a part of the church and not just a youth ministry during high school then they will look to connect with the church in college. Here are a few ways we are trying to make this happen week after week in our context...
Empower teens to serve now // we make every effort to give away important leadership roles to teens. Serving connects teenagers to other adult mentors and the heartbeat of the church.
Mission trips and serve events connected with the church // anytime a teen goes on a foreign mission trip they go with other leaders from the church. Our student ministry also joins our church in serving our city through several events we do every year uniting the church and our youth ministry.
Plan your worship gathering with the teen in mind // we try to always keep in mind with our service plans, series, worship sets, and stage look that teens will be worshiping with us. Allow teens to have a voice in your planning. This also allows teens and parents to worship together. We believe that makes a difference.
When we serve with teens, worship with teens, and encourage teens to be on mission with the church then we begin to place healthy adult relationships around them. Connecting teens to the church is not just about a healthy youth ministry it also demands a vibrant church who will make an effort. Teens know when they are wanted. Lets start making the connection.