In spite of the finest scholars involved and the best pedagogy going, our churches are not filled with students who came through the system. You may have had a bursting church school back in the ‘60s, but the majority of these now grown up participants no longer go to church.
When my wife Patty accompanies me on a guest preaching engagement, she normally does not actually enter the church building with me. She enters a few minutes before worship as an anonymous stranger to the church.
Our son Allan was a typical, grumpy 14-year-old. He would attend the youth group, led by a theology student named Doug, under protest; but attending under protest is probably as good as it gets with boys.
I am renowned for what is technically known as a “low coolness factor” and normally people sedulously keep me away from anything having to do with youth; but if you are elected moderator, they have to invite you to events like Canada Youth 2014.
Individuals have a natural life span. We are also becoming accustomed, with pain, to a parallel notion, that congregations have life spans. It may be time to ask whether denominations—in fact, our denomination—might have a life span also.