"Many parents today mistakenly believe the answer to keeping their children in the faith begins and ends with a dynamic children's and youth ministry. For many the end-all is a youth ministry with exciting worship, relevant events, relational youth workers, personal mentoring, and a charismatic pastor. Sounds reasonable, right? But it doesn't work. Dr. Richard Ross, an expert in youth ministry of four decades says,
"This model of student ministry has allowed us to maintain very strong participation for the sum total of two years of middle school, then we lose the first group on the way to high school, the next group when they get their driver's license, and the last group in the spring of their senior year. The fact that most now sleep off hangovers in their dorms suggest our model, though well intentioned, has generally been a failed experiment. Scripture, research, and observation by seasoned youth leaders suggest it's time for a new model."
*This is me saying AMEN! Aaron and I have talked about these exact 'stages' for YEARS!*
Our current model of educational formation in church isn't producing lasting disciples even if we get a sharper pastor, newer gimmicks, a better youth band, more volunteers, a bigger budget, or even our own youth building. Unfortunately, pastors who work with students are gauged by their coolness factor and their ability to entertain and act as a kid magnet. What if our ministries had no lights, no shows, no gimmicks, no Christian celebrities, no budgets, but had prayerful and humble leaders? What if prayer was primary, Scripture was central, and sharing one's faith was the norm? What if moms and dads were teaching the Word at home, living daily as attractive models to follow? What if these parents understood that, biblically, it's not the job of a professional pastor to disciple their children for them?
I've been a student pastor for 20 years. If someone were to ask me what is the one thing I want to accomplish in my ministry, the answer would be easy. My goal is to resource, train, and involve parents so they begin to open the Scriptures at home and pray with their children. I want parents to see their role as the most significant and influential in their God - given task to disciple their children.
Parents must take ownership of the responsibility to be the disciplers of their child. Pastors want to help and support parents, but when pastors try to do it alone we see 2 /3rds of students walk away from church after high school. Parent, take hold of your privilege."