Why is it that churches coming to Hume are having more and more trouble filling their spots?
The number one reason I hear is that the cost is too high and students and parents just can't afford it anymore. A few youth pastors tell me that they feel they can do something "almost as good" for a lower price. And still others just say that camp's not as popular with teens anymore.
A few thoughts...
#1 - STUDENTS CAN AFFORD IT. How many teens have the newest iPod, a decent car, a Wii AND an X-Box 360, and finally the new iPhone, all while carrying a data plan for the iPhone while buying all the newest songs on iTunes?
#2 - PARENTS CAN AFFORD IT. What do they pay monthly for each kid to have a cell phone, cable or satellite tv in every room, high speed internet, gas & insurance for the kids' cars, and who knows how much more per month?
#3 - CAMP IS STILL EFFECTIVE.
- Today's youth actually have MORE disposable income than any generation ever has. (I have no statistics for this, but it's gotta be true.)
- While the cost of camp has indeed gone up over the years, it's still affordable.
- There are so many more things competing for the disposable income of teens today than there were 10 (or even 5) years ago.
- Kids are too busy. Not only is there so much competing for their money, there's way too much that's competing for their time.
- Sports is king. Students and parents alike are lost in the delusion that they'll become the best in the particular sport & get scholarships to pay for college and give them a professional career.
- Ultimately, to the majority of parents today, spiritual things take on the lowest priority and they'd way rather spend money on sports or band camp, than invest into their kids' eternal future.
Maybe it starts with my own priorities. Perhaps I, as a leader, have put a lot of faith in the lies of the world, and am not setting the example to those following me that Christ is it, and nothing else matters. Maybe we, as youth leaders, need to be more aggressive in communicating with the parents of our students, and truly partnering with them in their kids' spiritual growth.
I want to hear from you people reading this. What's next? Where do we go? Can we do anything? What's God doing through all of this? How can we, as Hume & the Church, partner together more effectively to reach this generation?