Saturday, December 27, 2008

Beyond the Yearbook

This is an outline of a talk I gave to my church congregation on December 28, 2008.

I. Introduction:

A. Welcome back all college students
B. Introduce Senior class of 2009: first class I had all the way through
C. Power Point Game

II. Beyond the Yearbook

A. 18 years of nurture in an environment of family, church, school and
community and then off to college!

B. Proverbs 22:6:

1. Various Translations:

a. NIV: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he
is old he will not turn from it

b. New Living Translation: Direct your children onto the
right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

c. Contemporary English Version: Teach your children right from
wrong, and when they are grown they will still do right.

d. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Version: Teach your children
well . . .

2. Emphasis is on the word “train”: the verb includes the idea of
“dedicate,” and so the training should be with purpose.

3. Proverbs contrast two ways of life: the way of the wicked and foolish
in contrast to the way of the righteous and wise.

4. Cultural context vs. the reality of our day! Agrarian society vs. the
Post-modern, post-industrial information age

B. Recent Trends:

In an August 7, 2007 USA Today article (“Young Adults Aren’t Sticking With Church”), a national survey by LifeWay Research unveiled groundbreaking research that shows that 70% of church-attending Christian teens leave the church. The greatest numbers leave at ages 17, 18 or 19 throughout their senior year of high school and upon entering their freshman year at college. College becomes a spiritual graveyard for many Christian students… a place where their faith wanes. Culture shock, loneliness, peer pressure and an environment of freedom without bounds result in 70% of approximately 1.2 million youth ministry graduates per year leaving the foundations of their faith. For many of them, their God-given needs go unmet for the first time: to be loved, accepted and to fit into a group. When our students leave home alone with no established connection to Christian roommates, college, career or military ministries (on campus or in the church) and godly Christian friends they lose the accountability and balance provided by these vital relationships.

If there is any truth to this at all, this as a youth pastor and a parent is totally unacceptable to me. This means that in my own household I will have only one child continue in their faith into their adult life. Weather forecasters are wrong 50% of the time. We as a church cannot afford to be wrong 70% when we are talking about the souls of our own children!

2. Many ideas out there about whose fault this is: parents, youth ministries,
College professors, Campus life

3. Video of “Laurie’s Story”

C. The training of a child

1. What we can do NOW: A Model in Luke 2:52 - "And Jesus grew in wisdom (mental) and stature (physical), and in favor with God (spiritual) and men (social)."

Jesus developed the mental, physical, social and spiritual areas of his life.

Some observations:
- Social and Mental take over during college while physical
and spiritual get neglected
- My life: the crazier life gets, the easier it is to neglect my
spiritual disciplines
- Jesus’ adult life: the crazier it got, the more he made time
to spend with his Father
- Luke 2:52 gives us a model to live by individually as well
as a good parenting model

2. What can we do BETTER to prepare for the next stage?

3. A few ideas:

a. Develop a College Transition Team

b. Campus/College Ministries: Wesley Foundation, Campus
Crusade, InterVarsity, Fellowship of Christian Athletes,
local churches, etc.

c. Develop our own ministry to our college students: be more
intentional in helping with transitioning from high school to

d. Empower our students to lead themselves

e. Stay connected through cell phones, e-mails, texting,
Facebook, etc.

f. Pray, pray, pray

g. Add your thoughts and ideas to the blog

h. Make a New Year’s Resolution to “train up yourself and you child” in a life that demonstrates balance and commitment to all areas of life.


Scott Russ said...

A comment i have recieved after one of the services was the importance of exploring Christian colleges. Although a private Christian school would be more expensive, you would be on a campus that is committed to helping you develop your faith in the midst of your studies! I think Asbury College would be the closest UM college that i know of.

Scott Russ said...

Someone wrote a comment in the offering plate stating that: "What about young people who don't go straight to college? Perhaps we should encourage more life experience before going to college! No one or < 1% are prepared!!" This is actually an excellent comment that taps into a recent trend that even colleges are picking up on: giving students a one year (or more) break between HS and college to to have a life experience like spend a year on a mission trip, or spend time traveling around the world or some other year long project that will give them a life expeirence away from the books. Colleges are finding that these types of students are far more prepared and ready to take on college than the typical incoming Freshman class. On just about any campus, there are a lot of the new Freshmen who are not ready for college and are there for all the wrong reasons. Just getting past your Freshman year is a challenge for those who are there for the right reasons.