Brian Frick is the Associate for Camp and Conferences Ministries with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has been involved in camp and conference ministry since high school. For the past ten years, Brian has served as program director of Johnsonburg Center in New Jersey, Westminster Woods in California, and Heartland Center in Missouri.
Camp and conference ministry compliments and partners with other ministry aspects of our church to foster faith development and reflection. As our communities and our church changes, our ministries need to grow and adapt with creative and emergent programming and leadership to meet new realities.
These blogs entries, though varied, are intended to spur thought and conversation around the opportunities and challenges before us.
According to a recently conducted (but as yet un-published) PCUSA committee study, 60% of our youth who attended youth group drop out of church (don't go to any ministry in college) when getting to college!
That's pretty shocking! What are we going to do about that?
BUT WAIT. THAT'S NOT ALL!
Of those 60% that do attend a college ministry....80% do not return to church!
That's worse than shocking. That's downright scary.
If that's the case, that means that less than 5% of our youth remain with out church after college. That is lower than the national death rate - so if you assume Presbyterians pass away at the national average of 6% of our population a year, even if no one chooses to leave our church during their adulthood, we are still losing members! (don't worry, our country at least is not shrinking - we reproduce at 7% a year. Whew.)
If you ask me, that is THE number one issue our church (church in general because these stats are actually pretty solid across denominational lines according to the study) faces. If we don't address that, all our other ministries and activities are moot as they can't survive long-term.
What do we do?
What are your thoughts?