Youth at Risk
This last Saturday I was down in Southern California in a small town called Highland. This sleepy little town is in the Inland Empire right at the base of the San Gabriel mountains and on the way to Palm Springs. So why would I go to a place like this? Why not spend my Saturday at the beaches in Costa Mesa? Simple, there are 60% of youth that are leaving the faith and I had the opportunity to talk to many Christian youth works about this problem and share with them a solution to think about. I taught four different workshops that ranged from doing children songs as outreach to having a missions centered youth ministry. This is part of my fall weekends since working here at YMI, and I have had the opportunity to share with people in Seattle, Spokane, and Olympia WA; as well as Highland CA.
At YMI we are driven to help reverse this awful trend by training and equipping young people to actively share and live out their faith in the local and global communities in which they serve. You see this study shows that there is a drop off rate of 60% of all teens from following after Christ after high school. A further study shows that participation in church is not diminishing but rather it is the personal aspect of the faith that youth are neglecting. Things such as personal evangelism, bible reading, praying, and giving. There is a huge problem that we face as Christians. Our young people are not able to share what they believe. They don’t know how to articulate the truth.
That is what I shared with those who sat in on my Youth at Risk workshop. One of the solutions that we at YMI believe is to train the youth to share their faith. Not only train them but give them opportunities to share in local outreach. For so many youth, their faith is this pie in the sky stuff that they know the right answers for but don’t ever know why they are the right answers. Ask the youth in your church to go share the gospel with a stranger or with a kid in Sunday school, and they will freak out because they probably don’t know how. That is why need to be trained but then they need to be given an opportunity to actually do what they are learning. At YMI we do this by training short term mission teams to go out. Not simply for the experience, but first to start witnessing here in their community and then international and then back in their communities when they come back. This is how it becomes a life style. This one of the ways we combat Youth at Risk.