I had lunch with an 03 guy last week. It was fun. During the conversation, we talked a little bit about the proportions of guys from our Dteam who still follow Jesus. Not exactly A+. Or B. Maybe not even C. I know I've said it before, but I think its really important to measure numbers, not in terms of overall size but how many kids come out of our ministries and are still disciples. (Tangent 1 - Maybe we need to ask how many are disciples in the first place. And maybe whether we are really building disciples or if we are doing something else in the first place. Yeah, another time. Tangent 2 - Maybe we need to ask ourselves if we are really multiplying leaders that are disciples. Maybe disciple=leader.)
Sometimes I think about the guys that have given up on Jesus. These guys, we gave them a lot. A fantastic youth ministry that incorporated not only a huge mass of students in corporate worship but also small groups - one that (at least I felt) was a pretty tight group of guys, and that consistently opened the Scriptures every week. Opportunities to be involved in the ministry of reaching out to their friends, not just spectator religion. A few really cool summer mission opportunities. A few leaders that were pretty whacked, but still cared enough about each and every one of them to both listen to them and attempt to lead, challenge and implore them.
At times, I don't know what more we could have done. Sure I've heard the horror stories about various shallow and bad excuses for youth ministries. Ones that play BuckBuck all the time. Ones where the youth pastor passionately and authentically falls in love with a student. I honestly don't think that is where we are at.
Are we really winning kids to Jesus? Are we doing the job? Is it working? Are we winning this culture?