Our strategy for growing lifelong followers of Jesus is not working

"You're Losing Us"

Current Australian research is shouting to us that our contemporary ‘GIFT generation’ of young people (Google, iDevice, FaceBook, Twitter), which is more connected and more isolated than generations before them, is walking away from church and/or faith in their early adolescent years. A brief survey of some authors from across the Western world reveals that this concerning trend is not limited to our shores.

We are losing young people from our churches and the Christian faith.

We can do something about it.

GoodbyeGeneration

Despite all our incredible children’s, youth and young adult programs, we have not been able to stop this mass exodus from our churches. We have not just lost one generation, we are losing several.
David Sawler, Goodbye Generation (USA)

PuttingLifeTogether

50,000 young people a year are leaving the Christian faith and deciding that they have ‘no religion’.
Phillip Hughes, Christian Research AustraliaPointers Bulletin June 2013

This matter is urgent and is bigger than any one organisation or denomination.

A strategic alliance of organisations, committed to working together to change these current statistics, is extending and invitation to all key leaders and thought leaders to join a conversation and to lead a process for change that starts at the local church level. Let’s journey together through this crisis into our shared future.

This is a discipleship issue.

When Jesus commissioned us to ‘go into all the world and make disciples’, He wasn’t describing disciples who follow Him for 12 years and then walk away from their faith. The church’s task is to develop lifelong, active followers of Jesus.

This is a leadership issue.

As such, it requires the attention and resolve of our nation’s church leaders and their leadership teams.

There is no short term solution.

A long term commitment to an intentional discipling strategy is required.

In summary, the core issue that needs to be addressed, which is at the heart of this disturbing global trend, is an urgent rethinking of what does it take to grow lifelong, active followers of Jesus.

A 3 year conversation with representatives from major Christian organisations and denominations, along with an exploration of reports, research and literature from across the Western world, has revealed some of the missing elements in this process of making disciples. The beginning of a response will see long term plans built around 10 key ‘pillars’ which will provide local faith communities with some focussed direction for reversing this trend.

These findings have been put together into a strategy that empowers local church leadership to be agents of change in this process. We believe the solutions lie within each gathered faith community. This is not a promotion for a new glossy resource kit or a 12 week course.

Here2Stay aims to:

  • alert church leaders to the current data about declining church/faith trend
  • explain why we are at where we are today
  • present a suggested way forward
  • empower church leaders to devise and implement their own localised strategy

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Featured video

Engaging Today’s Prodigal: Carol Barnier delivers a workshop on prodigals to a group of pastors at the 2012 Moody Pastor’s conference. This is the final video in the series speaking on the Prodigal comes to faith. We pray these resources have been valuable.

Check out this video to help your thinking, stimulate your ideas and clarify your responses.

Featured resource

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Strengths Based Parenting:

Developing Your Children’s Innate Talents

How can you discover your children’s unique talents? And how can you use your own talents and strengths to be the most effective and supportive parent possible?

click here for more information

 

Featured article

Where in the World is a nine-week, interactive journal that helps kids understand what God says about Jesus and our faith in Him. Weekly stories reveal who Jesus is and why He came, through the lens of the life and ministry of Paul. Daily activities help kids discover how Jesus’ story can change their story.

Where in the World is a stand-alone journal. It can also be used with the summer curriculum for 252 Basics or with Walk This Way VBS materials.

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book

10 formational pillars