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Though he was raised in a church-going home, he did not have a conversion experience until the summer following his freshmen year at West Georgia College.
Even after this experience he felt no pull toward full-time ministry as his heart was set on being a professional football player.
Instead of stressing confirmation of faith—youth ministry's original raison d'être—the focus shifted to attracting more and more kids to the ministry (which inevitably involved entertaining them).
Not necessarily bad goals, but there were some ugly unintended consequences.
Only eight people attended that service, but the congregation soon grew and was renamed World Changers Church International (WCCI).
In less than ten years the church had grown exponentially and Dollar’s sermons were being broadcast over the radio through Creflo Dollar Ministries.
Some use violent video game parties to attract students through the church doors on Friday nights.
Over the past year I've conducted dozens of interviews with 20-somethings who have walked away from their Christian faith.
He and Taffi founded a church and they held its inaugural worship service in an elementary school cafeteria.Today some youth ministries are almost devoid of religious education.They are "holding tanks with pizza," as church researcher Ed Stetzer has called them.He had nothing but vitriol for the Christian beliefs of his childhood, but when I asked him about youth group, his voice lifted. Entertainment might get kids to church in their teens, but it certainly won't keep them there through their twenties.And recent studies confirm that they're leaving in droves.
Among the most surprising findings was this: nearly all of these "leavers" reported having positive experiences in youth group. "There are a lot more fun things to do at college than eat pizza." Good point.