Written by: Gary and Laurie Pecuch
Article source: www.faithwebbing.com
A recent Barna Research study showed that 33% of churches say youth ministry is either a secondary priority among church leadership or not a priority at all. Gary and Laurie Pecuch (pronounced “puh-cooch”) have dedicated over four decades of their lives to youth ministry, and after a lot of trial and error, they believe the key to youth ministry is through what they call “Faith Webbing.” To date, they have helped over 600 congregations expand their ministries to young people which helps reduce the number of youth who leave the faith as they get older. They are sharing their knowledge by teaching workshops at a youth directors’ conference in Anaheim.
“The two most important numbers when you talk about youth ministry is 85 and 95,” says Gary. “85% of adults who say they are Christians made that commitment by the age of eighteen. Of those adults, 90% said they did so before the age of twelve. As students get past the age of twelve, the statistics bottom out and it becomes more difficult to engage students with church and almost impossible to retain them once they leave high school. We learned early on in our work with young people that we had to find a way to reverse this trend. So we developed the Faith Webbing technique which, at its core, intentionally identifies relationship voids in young peoples’ lives and then fill those voids from within the congregation.”
The FaithWebbing.com website features over 300 video clips related to youth and family ministry. It also contains over 40 administrative forms and templates. In addition, the couple is currently adding monthly excerpts from their “Trot through the Bible” lesson series for adult leaders to use with young people. Ultimately, their goal is to make sure the next generation of youth becomes a greater priority for churches.
“The church is one of the only institutions that is organically inter-generational,” says Gary. “Most activities in a young person’s life term out. They may get involved in sports, community activities, or music programs for a season of their lives; however, most of those activities are age-specific. Once they term out, much of their support system disappears. People that catch the vision for Faith Webbing become what we call ‘relationship architects.’ That is, they intentionally seek out those in the congregation their children need to know. In essence, the church becomes an extended family of folks all going in the same direction. No longer are children and youth separated from the congregation and expected to meet with just their age group. We now have a healthy balance of age-based programming and interest-based ministry. Young people learn that the journey of faith is not meant to be walked alone and it is advantageous to be in relationship with older, wiser members of the faith community.”
Date published: 10/02/2020
Feature image: unsplash.com
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