"75 % of Teenagers Raised in Christian Homes Reject Their Faith by the end of their First Year in College."
It's an alarming statistic, and many of my colleagues around the country are trying to figure out why.
Why are College Students Rejecting the faith?
What are we doing in Youth Groups across the country?
Are we setting them up to fail?
Fifteen years ago, Jamie Jo and I decided to dedicate our lives to teenagers and their spiritual development. We started out in a small town in Colorado with a camp called KIVU. Our intent wasn't to be the best "summer camp" in the camping industry. But rather; our intent was to develop a place where teens could come and explore their faith. So often we see students who are believing in God because they found a spiritual mentor that believes in God.
They believe in God because they feel obligated to a family system that believes in God.
They believe in God because they have a 'cool' church that tells them to believe in God.
But at the end of the day, they don't have the ability to voice their own understanding of why they choose God, or not.
We started by developing a place where teenagers could decide to form their own schedule. Unlike many other summer camps, we believe teenagers are over-pressured during the year, and they need a place where they can relax, slow down, and enjoy each other's company.
So the first thing we did in created in KIVU was to give kids a voice in their daily activities. They can hike, bike, white water raft, or join us on several other Colorado adventures.
Secondly, we wanted to encourage a community of people from around the world. So we worked diligently on helping teenagers from all 50 states, Europe, South America, Asia, and other parts of the world to experience Colorado as an American visit. The network kids develop when they meet kids from around the world is nothing short of INCREDIBLE!
And finally, we put together a teen friendly curriculum to guide students to a place where they can transfer the lessons at church and home to their own personal faith journey.
We don't force anyone to believe what we believe.
We don't pressure them.
We don't manipulate emotions.
We simply present a way of living to follow Jesus, and we help students find a way to pull it off in their home communities.
KIVU is an important tool in spiritual development, and is as crucial to helping kids walk on a faith journey as any Sports Training, Academic Learning, or Social Experiment in our world today. If you'd like to see more of what KIVU is doing, check out the Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/campkivu, or you can see a collection of YouTube Videos at www.youtube.com/user/campkivu.
As we Continue helping prepare students for a life long walk with Jesus,