Do you know you can double the amount of youth and young adults who will be involved in the church as adults? Read this.
I have spent most of my adult life doing youth ministry. For the past for years I have stopped doing quite a few things and focused on getting the Cape Breton Discipleship Adventure off the ground. Since then we have been blessed with awesome staff. Jodi Stacey is our director, and we have more new staff starting soon (That will be another upcoming announcement). We also had someone in the community bless us with a mansion overlooking the ocean where our participants live.
For almost a decade I wrote, traveled, and spoke about how the church today can connect and retain the youth who grew up in the church. It has been an eye opening experience and I am happy to see so many groups addressing this across our country. Every parent, youth and young adult ministry, and church wants the best for their youth, and the future of their faith community.
Most groups are constantly thinking and praying about what will help us thrive in the future. So here is something I have always thought, but recent studies in Canada have confirmed. One of the best ways help our young people grow and become active participants in our churches as adults is to have them get involved in a Gap Year Discipleship Program. Students who are part of a discipleship program are twice as likely to be involved in the ministry of the church as adults. That’s right, it doubles. X2.
Why does it work? For a period of time young people get to experience living out what they have heard and read about in scripture. Jesus called a group of young people into a small group, where they learned, lived, ministered, discussed, and saw God at work – ‘Together’. A discipleship program may be the only time a person gets to have this experience, free of other distractions, in their lives. It is life transforming. It give every young person involved an experience like what Jesus’ disciples were called into.
I would encourage you to talk to every youth you know to find a place to do this for one year before doing anything else with their lives. They will grow spiritually, learn to live in community, perhaps even learn to cook and find out the challenges of taking care of themselves.
There are lots of every great options with YWAM, Crandel, Briercrest, and more.
Check out this video blog with Iona Snair from Life Teams – http://discipleshipadventure.ca/2019/04/20/daves-ym-blog-2-iona-snair/ We discuss more reasons Gap year / Discipleship programs work.