90% of these students are still living for Christ at college


December 3, 2012 by eimrick

I hear many people throw around the statistic that says “75% of church kids walk away from their faith after highschool”.  This may or may not be true.  I guess if the “statistics say”, then it must be true.  I just don’t ever remember anyone polling the students in our youth ministry.  I’d like to shed some light on this discussion from our experience out here in suburbia, Cleveland.  I think it highlights differest aspects of this “statistic”.

Joe Valenti and I are in our 8th year serving together in youth ministry at Cuyahoga Valley Church.  Recently, we looked at the rosters of teenagers over the past 5 years and did a brief “eye test” and talked about where students were at with their walks with Christ and came up with a couple of interesting observations.

A few of the observations were:

1.  Parents who looked at the church as having the primary “spiritual” responsibility of their teens were more likely to walk away from their faith.

2. Parents who found little to no value in what the church could assist them with had teens more likely to walk away from the faith.

3.  Parents who modeled their faith to their children and had a genuine walk with Christ had children less likely to walk away from their faith.

4.  Parents who valued the role of a youth ministry/church and saw them as partners were also less likely to walk away from their faith.

So our simple “eye test” results were the follows.

75% of the teenagers who were represented by #1,#2 didn’t have a strong relationship with Christ at college or had walked away completely.

90% of the teenagers who were represented by #3,#4 from our estimation were walking with Christ and active in Christian community.

What kind of results are you seeing?  How do we cast this vision to parents?  What keeps parents from “catching the vision?”




2 thoughts on “90% of these students are still living for Christ at college

  1. Daniel Anderson says:

    I am not sure if the stats are really that important. I think the main thing that students need to have before they leave for college is having their own faith. What I mean by that is if being a Christian is important to them or are they just going to youth group because they are making their parents happy. here are some suggestions i have for both parents and students.

    1. Students Your faith has to be yours. Like i said if your going to youth group to make your parents happy then odds are that you wont look for relationships that are beneficial while your at college.

    Parents this might sound funny but dont make your kids go to church their junior and senior year. The reason is they have to want to follow god. If they dont have a relationship with God by the time their are in their junior or senior year odds are as soon as they get away from your rules they will do what they want to do.

    2. Students before you leave for college i encourage you to ask as many questions as you can about things you dont understand. I also encourage you to NEVER believe something just because a youth pastor says. This goes along with making your faith your own. I find its harder to change someones mind when that person had personal experience in that said subject. You will get professors who say something against the bible and you will have to be able to the confidence to hear that and not start to question your faith. for example i had one professor say that Jesus didnt know he was god until the he was on the cross. His reasoning was that Jesus was fully human and humans dont know what they are capable of doing until their death bed. I knew he was wrong because he called himself god several times.

    Parents-encourage your kids to ask questions. encourage your kids to do research. if they dont understand something pull out the bible and look at it together. and no topic should be off limits either.

    3. Parents let your kids make mistakes without punishing them. Let them go to parties on a school night if they want to. okay before you tell me i am crazy just please give me a chance to explain. what i is when they are seniors in high school. heres why i say that. if they dont experience what happens in parties then they might want to experience parties at college. look if your kids want to go to a party on a school night and you say no they will end up doing it in college. and the consequences are going to be the same, except for one thing. you wont be there. its better to let them make a mistake and live with the consequence while they are living in your house then if they were living by themselves. this principle is along the lines of letting your kid own their own faith. okay maybe the drinking and going to a party during a school night is a bad example but what i was getting at is that kids should understand and be able to make mistakes and learn from them. like it or not your kids are going to get to the age where you cant protect them anymore and they will have to deal and learn from their mistakes. like i said its better to learn how to deal with mistakes while there is a safety net in place then to have them learn on their own.

    Kids- take school seriously. I keep running into people from both tri-c and university of akron who either had to transfer to akron or tri-c because they got into trouble or they partied to much and failed out.

    This is my person experience and what has helped me through out my college life. this is not fact and its just my opinion.

  2. Renée says:

    I do think it’s important for parents to model their faith to their children but even more than that I think it’s important for parents and kids to be able to have open and honest dialogue. I know everyone says parents aren’t supposed to be their kid’s friends but I think there is a happy medium between friend and authority figure that many families are missing.

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