Faith Communities Today
New Fact Information
Youth activities are an important part of church life today. Adventist churches are less likely than other local religious congregations to sponsor a youth group such as a Pathfinder Club, Scout troop, AY or teen club. The majority of religious congregations (55%) have at least one such group ongoing throughout the year, while most Adventist local churches do not.
About one in five local congregations (both Adventist and other religions) have a youth group during only part of the year or just short-term, occasional or annual events for youth. A third of Adventist churches and a quarter of other religions have no youth group of any kind.
One explanation for the lower number of Adventist churches with youth groups is demographics. Several surveys have shown that the Adventist Church in North America is aging, and there are hundreds of local churches in small towns and rural areas where none of the adult members are young enough to have children or teenagers still living at home. This situation is exacerbated by boarding academies, which take some teens out of their local churches for much of the year and make it more difficult for those congregations to maintain a local youth group.
Some inactive members have enrolled their children in Pathfinder clubs because of positive memories. Adventist churches could reach out to such parents to encourage their children to participate in youth activities and find ways to re-build relationships with the parents.
1. Does our congregation currently have both a Pathfinder Club and an AY (Adventist Youth) or similar activity group for teens?
2. If so, how many of our young people from the appropriate age groups are participating regularly? If not, what steps would be necessary to start one or both?
3. What can be done to strengthen the existing group or groups?
4. How could we re-build relationships with inactive or former members who are parents of teens?One-Minute Witness is a friendship evangelism booklet that offers peace of mind to those who are not sure what to say to a work colleague, family member or returning member when matters of faith come up in conversation. Order your booklet or order several copies for a church committee to review.
Center for Creative Ministry
Creative Pastor e-Newsletter, March 22, 2007, Center for Creative Ministry