Like most mainline churches, the ELCA is having trouble keeping its young people in church. How can we reverse this trend?
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As churches revive their floundering youth ministries, they look for inspiration from congregations that have flourishing programs.
Finding the keys to successful youth ministries was the aim of a recent study led by Roland Martinson of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. Martinson and his colleagues examined 350 congregations that represented a variety of faith perspectives, including Lutheran, Assemblies of God, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist traditions.
“This study is like mining gold,” Martinson says. “Excellent youth ministry is happening across the nation, and we are going to the source to uncover the wealth of information they have to share with the church.”
The study’s preliminary findings show that exemplary youth ministries have:
• A sense of God’s presence and activity of God.
• An emphasis on spiritual growth, vocation and discipleship.
• Engagement in outreach and mission.
• A congregation that puts a priority on youth ministry.
• A sense of community—a place where young adults can form significantrelationships.
• Competent leadership.
• A partnership with households and homes.
For more information, see www.exemplarym.com.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers