Kris and I were in California last Thursday through Saturday, and I want to record some thoughts here about our days there. We were guests of Robin Dugall, director of Youth Leadership Institute which is held annually at Azusa Pacific University in the summer. I’ve spoken to plenty of college groups, but this group impressed me deeply with the thought that the Church has a fine, young generation presently poised to assume leadership.
If you are looking for a place for your young leaders to get some intensive experience, check out this fine program with Robin Dugall. He’s a former senior pastor and an experienced youth leader. (Plus, he can play a good guitar.)
Robin greeted Kris and me with this thought, one I hadn’t heard and which troubled me since I heard it: 80% of high school kids are somehow connected to a church but after college only 16-17% are still connected to the Church. (Something like this.) I don’t know if you have heard this, but if you have I’d like to see the study or learn more about it.
These numbers are scary. If true, and let’s assume it is generally accurate, there is a major, major issue involved. Instead of saying youth ministry is not good enough, what I think we have to do is double our efforts with youth ministry to deepen it and to broaden it. I suspect (you can correct me if need be) our ministries focus so much on adults and youth/high school kids that the entire issue of sustaining high school kids as they move into college settings is a major challenge. Well, such is an idea. Any thoughts?
Robin Dugall, at APU, has a program that brings in high school students each summer for a week of intensive theological training and spiritual formation — and I can’t but help think this is a good thing for such students. Many, one would hope, would find some kind of vocational focus out of such experiences.
I did a Jesus Creed talk, but that just seemed to be part of a 2-hour session of worship, music, video shenanigans, and the like. The expressiveness and intensity of worship of the younger generation impress me; I like it. Hope it continues.
Tomorrow: I’ll record my thoughts about our time with Spencer Burke who created The Ooze. We spent about 4 hours with Spencer.