Where are the Youth?

Rev. Terry K. Dittmer - LCMS Director of Youth Ministry - had these comments to make when a concern was brought to him about the number of youth in the LCMS. (This was part of a larger interview done with The Wittenberg Trail, a networking site for Lutherans) He brings up good points about the issue of the church contracepting itself out of existance, as well as retaining people and sustaining them through their entire life in their faith.

2) Recently I read a statistic that there are "only a little over 100,000 high school youth in the LCMS out of 2.5 million". Why do you think that so few of our high school aged youth are part of the LCMS? Another way of asking that question is, "What is attracting the 100,000 to the LCMS?"

(Dr. Dittmer)
The reason there are so few youth in the LCMS is that we are an aging church and we are not reproducing ourselves. We have had 2.5 million members for the last 30 years. At this time, the average age of an LCMS member is 62. We’re not having children. In that time, our youth population has shifted from 198,000 in 1980 to 102,000 in 2007 based on confirmation statistics. (If it’s any consolation, we aren’t the only church body with this challenge. It’s true of nearly every denomination).
We actually do a good job of retaining our youth. The National Study of Youth and Religion finds that the LCMS is in a category of churches that retains about 86% of its teens through high school. When they graduate, however, in their post-high school years, church connections drop dramatically.


Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

In March 2006, Pr. H. R. Curtis posted here on the REPORTER commentary on the same question: "Where are the Children?"

Pr. Curtis and his friend Pr. Scott Adle dug up the following stats:

Baptised Children--32,851
Juniors Confirmed--25,325
Adults Confirmed--19,153

Baptised Children--82,248
Juniors Confirmed--52,445
Adults Confirmed and Baptised--32,000

Since CPH published Rev. Alfred Rehwinkel's book, PLANNED PARENTHOOD, praising the founder of the same, The LCMS has a consistent history of contracepting itself out of business.

Anonymous said...

What is sad is the disconnect which many older Christians have. They look around and ask why there are not as many young people in church as there were when they were children, never realizing that it is because they and their two children never gave the missing youth a chance to be and to attend church. When they were youth and the church was full of youth, they had three, four, or more siblings, as did almost every other young person of their age whom they knew.

This is not only true of the LCMS, but practically every other denomination in America, including the Catholic Church, whose growth is due primarily to immigrants, not natural increase.