Have you ever wondered if we’re missing the mark? Research shows that young people are leaving the church and aren’t looking back. In this guide, we examine this difficult, challenging, and eye-opening question and seek answers to help change the trends.

There is hope. We can make a difference.

Satellite navigation systems have changed how we travel. Just type in the address, and you never have to look farther than a three-inch blue line straight ahead on your screen. You know where you’re supposed to be going, but you don’t really need to pay attention to point B until you’re there.

As ministry leaders, we’ve become accustomed to following programs and trusting that we’re showing kids the way to Jesus. We have our eyes on a three-inch blue line straight ahead. If we have lost focus on the greater journey of faith formation, our desire for the convenience of packaged programs may be partly to blame.

Of course, nobody would advocate inconvenience per se as the remedy. But, somehow, we need a clear picture and constant reminder of point B. And “we” includes at least four key influencers in a child’s faith formation: 

  • the church as a whole
  • children’s ministry
  • parents
  • publishers

Together we have to lead kids to point B, to an identity in the real Jesus. The scandalous, law-breaking, love-abiding Jesus. The counter-cultural Jesus who modeled and taught a way of following God that broke from the conventions of His time and place in the world—and ours.