Over the past few months I have been wrestling with a few ideas about bridging the gap between youth and life out of high school. Our experience has not been as bleak as what many studies show about the number of students leaving the Church and their faith behind after high school but it is still a concern. Part of my wrestle is that the jump from Youth to Young adults is often pretty substantial in style and values even in the same Church. Over the past few years a trend that has begun to happen in the Vancouver area where I live is combining Youth and Young Adults into the same group encompassing grade 8 to age 23.
At first it seems crazy having that large of a spread of young people in the same room, but I have visited the groups and it is actually a really healthy environment. If you think these are small Churches with limited resources, it is just not the case. One of the Churches is around 1000 people and the other around 2500 and both are thriving with this organization. Students are making the jump more seamlessly after high school, becoming leaders and staying connected to the Church in a meaningful way. They have events outside of their weekly gather for specific age groups throughout the year and one of them breaks their summer camp up into 3 age groups as well. I am no there yet, but could be convinced to combine resources to develop one ministry of HS and College.
It seems to be working really well here, but have you tried it? Seen it done? What do you think?
If you want to check out the groups you can right here:
Relate Church www.relategeneration.ca
CLA Church www.therevolutionmovement.com