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In September of 2006 George Barna sent a shockwave through the Church and particularly youth ministries. The study released by the Barna Group stated that “61% of today’s young adults . . . had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying). Only one-fifth of twenty-somethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences.” (source) The statistic is shocking and disheartening to churches that purport to be making disciples. Barna goes on to report, “Another one-fifth of teens (19%) were never significantly reached by a Christian community of faith during their teens and have remained disconnected from the Christian faith.” There have been other follow-up studies that are providing more in-depth information. The “Soul Searching” study was completed by Christian Smith and The National Study of Youth and Religion. The Sticky Faith Study was completed by Kara Powell and the Center for Youth and Family Ministries through Fuller Seminary. Each have had follow ups and are asking the question: Why are teens walking away from faith?


Our faith is steeped in both intellectual assent and mystery, so it is no wonder that our students are questioning the validity of having faith in Christ. Those who lean into the intellect struggle with the mystery and those who lean toward spirituality miss the ancient historical narrative that grounds the Christian faith. We believe that students need to embrace both realms in a more holistic manner in order to have flourishing life in Christ. But let’s be honest: none of this is new.


There are age old questions that every follower of Jesus has had to grapple with:

    • What do we really know about Jesus?
    • How do I have faith when everyone around me is saying it is just a crutch or so flawed that it is stupid to believe?
    • Why do I even need God?


We strongly recommend that you create a box where students can write down and submit questions as you go along. It’s very likely they will be addressed at some point in the series, but this way you will know where your students are at in the process and you can tailor the lessons to them.


We are sure you can add to this list. We also know that there are not pat answers to any of these questions that will satisfy students long term. The most effective way to answer them is to allow students to experience the truth for themselves through a number of means. We strongly recommend that the curriculum prompts that include scripture, prayer, and discussion be utilized, but all that is up to you.


One of our foundational beliefs is that the Holy Spirit does the work of convincing. We encourage you and your team to lean into that belief as well. Our job is not to argue anyone into the Kingdom or to berate another’s beliefs, but to present better questions, the testimony of people, and the scriptures.


This product includes

    • Student Leadership Meeting
    • Four Topical Lessons with Small Group Questions
    • Slide templates for PowerPoint, Keynote, ProPresenter, MediaShout, etc

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Youth Cartel

The Youth Cartel’s mission is to encourage and challenge adults who minister to youth through holistic professional coaching, strategic consulting, transformational events, and inventive resource development that advance youth ministry in new ways.

To our core, we are passionate about Instigating a Revolution in Youth Ministry.

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Free Ebook by Doug Fields

There are plenty of people who are grateful that you do what you do. Your students are, their families are, and your church is, even though they may not say it often enough. I want to say thanks on behalf of them, and model the way we need to be saying thanks to the leaders that serve alongside us—in ten different ways—through this ebook.

Thank YOU!