Is it possible that canceling ’Sunday School’ for your youth ministry once a month can actually help your students develop a stronger faith and connection with your church? Well, apparently this is true. According to a gigantic study by Fuller Youth Institute, two of the greatest indicators for a life-long faith after high school include: 1) Being a regular part of church worship services 2) Serving within the church. For many of us who have a Sunday morning student ministry program, we are aware that many of our students only attend our student specific programs, and there is the potential that they will hardly ever serve in church or attend regular services.
This could be a detriment to their faith walk…
Significant Changes In Sunday School Programs: Recently I have been highly interested in a number of posts being written by Kurt Johnston and Josh Griffin from Saddleback Church, in Southern California. Their articles have been focused on the recent changes to their Sunday morning student ministry program. Kurt, Josh, and the leadership at Saddleback are so convinced that students need to be in church, that they have canceled their student ministry programs once a month to allow students and families to ‘Worship Together.’
Huge Undertaking: This is a huge undertaking from a church of this size and could have huge ramifications. However, the fact that they are prepared to make such huge changes should grab our attention. It should cause us to consider how we can get students involved in worship and service in our churches. We might not ‘cancel’ once a month like they have, but we should seek to find greater ways for students to ‘stick’ in church (and their faith), by making changes to our traditional programs.
I would maintain that if students spend the majority of their student years in our youth specific programs, (and not the larger church), we are hurting their ability to ‘stick’ in the church and stand on their faith for the long haul.
You can read more about how they are doing with Worship Together by clicking here and you can watch a video interview with Kara Powell from Fuller Youth Institute and author of ‘Sticky Faith - Youth Worker Edition