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Author Topic: Youth ministry failing....??  (Read 609 times) Average Rating: 0
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Timon
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« on: February 15, 2013, 12:31:35 PM »

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Not only are young people de-churching in droves (anywhere between 60 and 85 percent after they turn 18), they are not re-churching after getting married and having children as in previous generations. What’s more, those who remain churched tend to develop less orthodox views about the faith and moral behaviors.

I heard stats like this all the time growing up in an evangelical church. I was wondering though, have there been any studies comparing the number of youth who leave Orthodoxy after they turn 18 (or leave home)?

What are some of the reasons you think this is happening? Is it because church these days looks so much like everything else in American culture that theres nothing unique or special about it anymore? It seems to me that it simply becomes not needed.

Heres the rest of the article.

http://frjohnpeck.com/youth-ministry-the-50-year-failed-experiment/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+frjohnpeck+%28Fr.+John+Peck%29&utm_content=FaceBook

Love to hear your thoughts!

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Timon
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2013, 07:54:38 PM »

Anyone?

And after re-reading, I realized this may seem like a job at Orthodox youth ministry.  This is referring to youth ministry from an evangelical protestant perspective.  Why do evangelicals stop going to Church? Is there evidence to show that Orthodox youth stick around after grade school?

I know that there are lots of converts like myself here, so I thought someone may have a response.
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2013, 08:11:42 PM »

Anecdotally, high numbers of youth leave the Orthodox Church after high school, and not all of them return when they get married and have children. Orthodox Christian Fellowship and various other youth programs were created decades ago to stem this. I think they helped a little, but the trend continues.

I think the trend may have more to do with transitions in age, peer groups, understanding, and place than the failure of youth programs.
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 08:22:28 PM »

Anecdotally, high numbers of youth leave the Orthodox Church after high school, and not all of them return when they get married and have children. Orthodox Christian Fellowship and various other youth programs were created decades ago to stem this. I think they helped a little, but the trend continues.

I think the trend may have more to do with transitions in age, peer groups, understanding, and place than the failure of youth programs.

Good point. And thanks for pointing that out. Im still new to all this and havent been around Orthodoxy long enough to see for myself what happens when kids reach that age.  Age is probably the biggest factor. The whole "figuring out the world" on your own kind of thing will probably do this regardless of your denomination.
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2013, 08:40:59 PM »


I fear that we adults, are responsible.

I think we don't teach the youth enough about the Faith.

As the Lord stated....we need to ensure that "seed" falls on fertile ground.

How many times do the kids join their parents at church on Sundays....stand there....fidget....and not truly realize what is occurring before them each Sunday?

If the kids are mere spectators, and not participants...they will stop coming as soon as their parents stop being an influence on them.

They need to come to church not because it's "what they do" on Sundays....but, because they KNOW Christ is present.....and they come to worship, thank, and spend time with him.

They need to yearn the Eucharist....and feel a void, when they aren't able to participate in church services.

We need to teach them to love Christ.  How we do it....I'm not so sure....but, we need to.
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2013, 08:46:42 PM »


I fear that we adults, are responsible.

I think we don't teach the youth enough about the Faith.

As the Lord stated....we need to ensure that "seed" falls on fertile ground.

How many times do the kids join their parents at church on Sundays....stand there....fidget....and not truly realize what is occurring before them each Sunday?

If the kids are mere spectators, and not participants...they will stop coming as soon as their parents stop being an influence on them.

They need to come to church not because it's "what they do" on Sundays....but, because they KNOW Christ is present.....and they come to worship, thank, and spend time with him.

They need to yearn the Eucharist....and feel a void, when they aren't able to participate in church services.

We need to teach them to love Christ.  How we do it....I'm not so sure....but, we need to.


Agreed.  This is true for Orthodoxy and Evangelicals.  Heck, in most evangelical circles im familiar with, the kids have kids church thats all just loud music and gross games. (Like cracking a raw egg in a tube then having kids blow on either side of it. The loser gets egg all over their face.... Seriously, this happened at a gig my band did last month.) Then a short sermon. They arent even with their parents for them to teach them about whats going on.  Not that theres all that much going on anyways.  Too many parents rely solely on the Church to teach their kids and dont do their part to make sure the "seed" falls on that fertile ground.

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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2013, 08:47:41 PM »

We need to give the right kind of instruction. Words go in one ear and out the other most of the time. You can't force people to be interested. However, if parents make an honest effort to live the life of the Church and not become secularized, then their children will have an example to imitate.

Consider Elders Zachariah of St. Sergius Lavra and Elder Iakovos of Evia. Their mothers were holy people. Elder Zachariah's mother was charitable. Elder Iakovos' mother would get up in the middle of the night to pray. Their sons learned from them and became great saints.

Children know hypocrisy when they see it. They are badly affected by a negative home atmosphere when their parents argue and tell them one thing, but do another. What they need are authentic witnesses of the Truth.
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2013, 10:06:59 PM »

I honestly don't think you guys get it at all. It's not about adults being more dogmatic and teaching us, it's about giving us breathing space. When I was an adolescent tyrant, the more my parents tried to force religion on me, the more I distanced myself from it and saw it as being evil. If they had been more openminded and liberal in regards to religion, I probably wouldn't have become so anti-religion for a little while.
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2013, 11:03:17 PM »


Of the 20 "youth" with whom I grew up in the Church, perhaps 5 still attend regularly and another 5 on holidays.

Those who NEVER show up are precisely those whose parents gave them "freedom" and space.  They didn't force church upon them.  They let them sleep in after a hard week at school and play....they needed their rest....

....and so, they are still resting....never to be seen crossing the threshold to the church.

The ones who do come...are the ones whose parents didn't simply come to socialize, but, lived their Faith.  Just as mentioned above, Orthodoxy didn't exist only inside the four walls of the church, but, was lived in the world by the parents, and witnessed by the kids.

My mom "forced" me to come to church every Sunday...other than serious illness, there was no excuse to miss a Sunday.  I would have rather slept in, watched cartoons, gone to the movies, etc....just like other kids my age....but, no....I had to be in church.

My family didn't only attend church....they participated in the Liturgy and Church Life....volunteering, cooking, teaching, serving, cleaning....you name it, they did it.  Christ and His Church was the center of our household....

What they did was right.  Christ has remained pivotal to my life.  I can't imagine life without Him.
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2013, 12:06:29 AM »

I honestly don't think you guys get it at all. It's not about adults being more dogmatic and teaching us, it's about giving us breathing space. When I was an adolescent tyrant, the more my parents tried to force religion on me, the more I distanced myself from it and saw it as being evil. If they had been more openminded and liberal in regards to religion, I probably wouldn't have become so anti-religion for a little while.

Cite specifically where on this thread anyone talked about forcing religion onto children? Or about "being more dogmatic?"
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2013, 08:19:59 AM »

As a person with quite fresh memories of being a teenager, I understand them. I don't think there is anything in Evangelical worship that can be appealing to young people.
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2013, 10:23:36 AM »

I honestly don't think you guys get it at all. It's not about adults being more dogmatic and teaching us, it's about giving us breathing space. When I was an adolescent tyrant, the more my parents tried to force religion on me, the more I distanced myself from it and saw it as being evil. If they had been more openminded and liberal in regards to religion, I probably wouldn't have become so anti-religion for a little while.
not my experience at all
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2013, 10:37:24 AM »


Of the 20 "youth" with whom I grew up in the Church, perhaps 5 still attend regularly and another 5 on holidays.

Those who NEVER show up are precisely those whose parents gave them "freedom" and space.  They didn't force church upon them.  They let them sleep in after a hard week at school and play....they needed their rest....

....and so, they are still resting....never to be seen crossing the threshold to the church.

The ones who do come...are the ones whose parents didn't simply come to socialize, but, lived their Faith.  Just as mentioned above, Orthodoxy didn't exist only inside the four walls of the church, but, was lived in the world by the parents, and witnessed by the kids.

My mom "forced" me to come to church every Sunday...other than serious illness, there was no excuse to miss a Sunday.  I would have rather slept in, watched cartoons, gone to the movies, etc....just like other kids my age....but, no....I had to be in church.

My family didn't only attend church....they participated in the Liturgy and Church Life....volunteering, cooking, teaching, serving, cleaning....you name it, they did it.  Christ and His Church was the center of our household....

What they did was right.  Christ has remained pivotal to my life.  I can't imagine life without Him.


You can't over generalize.  I've seen kids come to church despite their parents and I've seen "forced" kids drop church their first week of college.  I was raised the same way as you.  I'm a deacon, one sister is a Christmas/Pascha Catholic, one sister is an apostate.  I am not saying the way we were raised was wrong but there is no guarantee.
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2013, 10:50:11 AM »

It comes down to making one's faith one's own. What's it worth to you? It's a question only an individual can answer, and we answer it every single day. Am I going to say yes or no to God? Too often, the answer I give is no. But we are still alive, and though we answer no a thousand times, the question is still there for us to change our minds and say yes.
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2013, 11:12:49 PM »


I fear that we adults, are responsible.

I think we don't teach the youth enough about the Faith.

As the Lord stated....we need to ensure that "seed" falls on fertile ground.

How many times do the kids join their parents at church on Sundays....stand there....fidget....and not truly realize what is occurring before them each Sunday?

If the kids are mere spectators, and not participants...they will stop coming as soon as their parents stop being an influence on them.

They need to come to church not because it's "what they do" on Sundays....but, because they KNOW Christ is present.....and they come to worship, thank, and spend time with him.

They need to yearn the Eucharist....and feel a void, when they aren't able to participate in church services.

We need to teach them to love Christ.  How we do it....I'm not so sure....but, we need to.


I agree with you.   Parents do hold a lot of responsibility towards this problem.  The scriptures tell parents to "train up their children in the Lord".  They also tell us "That the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge".

As a parent, I believe it is important to teach children deeply about Christianity.  The fundamentals of sin, and how Christians should act in this world in faith.  I think it is important to expose children to people who have had lives severely affected by their sins.

If a child does not understand these things, then worldly ways and sin could stray them from any church.  I've seen this in Orthodox as well as Mennonites (old order).   It's very sad.   People who would have otherwise been very strong in faith and devout Christians, led astray through worldly sinful ways.

The challenges teens face today is insane.

I can't imagine the struggles of 16-17 year old males who have instant & private access to things like internet pornography.  The distortion this will cause in their lives could be very severe.  Not because of any strength I have, but pretty much luck, I was a married adult before the internet even began to go mainstream.   Teens also have video games, insane amounts of television, and instant entertainment on demand.... All distracting from faith.

When a young man is 18, it is hard for him to choose prayer, to read ancient scriptures, over watching Aliens on demand.   

The challenge is only growing, faith is dropping, and the level of available distractions are insane.

Anybody near 40 years old to 50 years old easily can remember when you rode your bikes all day, there were 3-5 channels on TV., etc.   There were such things as "boring summers".   That gave our "distracted years" sometimes more time to "reflect".

Today any 18 year old can walk play games for days upon weeks.... they can get any movie or fall to porn nearly instantly.... their friends are a text away.  (remember riding your bike somewhere and knocking on a door to see if a friend could come out?)

Anyway, its the parents fault, and their fault for allowing their young people to be so "caught up" and distracted.
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« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2013, 04:45:42 AM »

(remember riding your bike somewhere and knocking on a door to see if a friend could come out?)

Woah. Times sure have changed. When I was a kid, my mother would hardly even ever allow me to ride my bike in the front yard because she was worried about me getting kidnapped or something. Heck, to this very day, she still gets worried whenever I go somewhere alone. She texts me every half an hour to see if I'm okay when I'm at Liturgy alone.
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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2013, 04:52:13 AM »

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She texts me every half an hour to see if I'm okay when I'm at Liturgy alone.

That's just ridiculously overprotective. I hope you have your phone turned off when you're at church.
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2013, 05:07:20 AM »

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She texts me every half an hour to see if I'm okay when I'm at Liturgy alone.

That's just ridiculously overprotective. I hope you have your phone turned off when you're at church.

On vibrate, I usually just step out into the Nave when she texts me to respond.
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2013, 05:17:32 AM »

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She texts me every half an hour to see if I'm okay when I'm at Liturgy alone.

That's just ridiculously overprotective. I hope you have your phone turned off when you're at church.

On vibrate, I usually just step out into the Nave when she texts me to respond.

You'll just have to find a way of getting her to stop interrupting the service for you. A message at the start of the service, and one after the end should be quite sufficient to put her mind at ease. Sacred time is sacred time, and surely she can be made to realize that.
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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2013, 11:38:59 PM »

(remember riding your bike somewhere and knocking on a door to see if a friend could come out?)

Woah. Times sure have changed. When I was a kid, my mother would hardly even ever allow me to ride my bike in the front yard because she was worried about me getting kidnapped or something. Heck, to this very day, she still gets worried whenever I go somewhere alone. She texts me every half an hour to see if I'm okay when I'm at Liturgy alone.

James when I was 12, we'd ride our bikes until it got dark outside.  Sometimes we went on 30 mile "missions" to the arcade.  LOL.   We'd go everywhere.  No helmets, knee pads, gear.  Just shorts and T-shirts.
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