At this time EFC has chosen not to have a youth group. We are aware that having a youth group greatly increases our chances of getting more people to attend our church. But, our concern is the quality of ministries we offer. Here is what we’re seeing: youth group is failing. Studies consistently show that more than 70% of kids leave the faith and quit attending church after graduating high school (1). How can the “drop out” rate be so high in a day when the Church puts more effort into youth than at any time before in history? Something is wrong.
At EFC we don’t want to offer a ministry because its conventional. Our Biblical purpose is to create committed disciples of Jesus Christ. Youth Group hasn’t proven to do that successfully. So we’re trying to approach youth differently.
We believe there are three critical factors in helping kids become committed disciples of Jesus Christ:
First, we believe the best thing for a kid is a mom and dad who really live for God. Parents play the single most important role in their kids’ lives. When a strong and sincere faith is modeled at home it will have far more long-term impact on kids than anything else. In the home is where kids see if the Christian faith is “real” or not. Therefore, our philosophy is “win the parents, win the kids”. This is why we work at creating an atmosphere that encourages parents to faithfully pursue Christ for themselves.
Second, we believe that the Church should be helping kids see the Christian faith is intelligent. The world is aggressively skeptical and Christian kids need to see there are powerful answers for big questions. This means we not only want to teach them what to believe, but, we want them to know why. Some of the ways we do this include:
- Curriculum for youth that touches on big questions starting in the early years.
- Frequent classes on apologetics for 13 years up through adult
- Kids 6-12 years are in adult service on alternating weeks. Rather than keeping them in a bubble of their peers we expose them to adult worship to facilitate their maturing and growing up (1 Corinthians 13:11).
- We encourage kids to ask hard questions and give them a safe environment to do so.
Lastly, we believe meaningful Christian friendships help ground kids in their faith. Kids need real relationships with their peers as well as people of other ages. On the one hand we want kids of the same age to connect with each other for real friendships and Christian encouragement. We also want older Christians to invest in the youth and give them people to look up to. So we try to have activities that involve specific ages and other activities involving all ages.
While these are not the only factors, we believe they are some of the most important in helping kids become committed disciples of Jesus Christ. So we encourage you to come to EFC and come ready to think differently about how to ground your kids in the faith. We’re ready to partner with you for the next generation, but, it starts with you taking your faith seriously. We believe if we win you to Christ we win your kids.