Friday, October 6, 2006

Evangelical Leaders Fear Losing Teen Believers

Youth pastors say they can't compete with MTV, cynicism, Web sites

08:16 PM CDT on Thursday, October 5, 2006

The New York Times

Despite their packed megachurches, their political clout and increasing visibility on the national stage, evangelical Christian leaders are warning one another that their teenagers are abandoning the faith in droves.

At an unusual series of leadership meetings in 44 cities this fall, more than 6,000 pastors are hearing dire forecasts from some of the biggest names in the conservative evangelical movement.

Their alarm has been stoked by a highly suspect claim that if current trends continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be "Bible-believing Christians" as adults – a sharp decline compared with 35 percent of the current generation of baby boomers, and before that, 65 percent of the World War II generation.

While some critics say that the statistics are grossly exaggerated (one evangelical magazine for youth ministers dubbed it "the 4 percent panic attack"), there is widespread consensus among evangelical leaders that they risk losing their teenagers.

"I'm looking at the data," said Ron Luce, who organized the summit meetings and founded Teen Mania, a 20-year-old youth ministry, "and we've become post-Christian America, like post-Christian Europe. We've been working as hard as we know how to work – everyone in youth ministry is working hard – but we're losing."

For full article click here.

No comments: