"Josh McDowell addressed this in his latest book, The Last Christian Generation, where he documented that research indicates that anywhere from 69 to 94 percent of our youth are leaving the church after high school. And few are returning."
In this article, Raymond Bohlin addresses issues related to the transition from high school to college.
The article tracks back to (and very briefly mentions) another website that talks about The Triangle of Discouragement.
The triangle is really small and hard to read. But on the three sides of the triangle are three "lifestyles" students today feel they have to perform at. There is the High School corner, the Church corner, and the Home corner. The point of the article and triangle is to show how challenging and harmful this dual-lifestyle is. At each end of the triangle the student feels like "I do not measure up" at school. "I am failing" in my spiritual walk.
The point is that students at high school have a difficult time "living up" to the expectations from home and high school. When church also becomes another expectation, another failure, students just leave. And it is a popular trend for high school students to graduate and go off to college and to not return to the church.
Check out these additional resources for more information and help in making this critical transition (from high school to college) easier and more fruitful:
• www.youthtransitionnetwork.org: Official site for Youth Transition Network.
• www.liveabove.com offers resources for youth leaders to help their students make the transition and offers help for students in locating a campus ministry and even a Christian roommate.
• college101seminars.com offers informational programs for churches and secular institutions on helping their students make a profitable transition.
• Conversations CD—this information page introduces a tool designed to help navigate the pitfalls of higher learning, construct a biblical worldview, answer life’s toughest questions and make great grades. The well-done sections on making better grades hosted by Dr. Walter Bradley are worth their weight in gold.
• www.boundless.org/college contains links for articles designed to help Christians survive and thrive in college (and beyond). Ask Theophilus is particularly helpful.
• TrueU.org is a general site for students of faith.
© 2008 Probe Ministries
Obviously one of the biggest things we can do is change the approach and the way church reaches out to students (high school and college both).