Today’s students face unparalleled pressures. More than any group in history, Generation Z are constantly barraged by thousands of voices vying for their attention. One thing is clear: Students need a biblically grounded foundation as they navigate life in our world.
ReachStudents, the student ministry department of the EFCA, works to maximize leaders to reach and release the next generation with the gospel. This is no easy task. Student ministry looks vastly different than it did just a few years ago, and it requires constant vigilance as we navigate rapid changes in culture.
Long past are the days where dodgeball tournaments, serving at soup kitchens or providing inspirational talks are the top priorities of youth ministry. Today’s parents and students need more. Student ministry leaders provide a stabilizing relationship in the midst of the impact of broken homes, loneliness and depression, gender dysphoria and more. They plant and water the gospel of Jesus Christ so that students would be truly transformed.
That is why the strategic focus of ReachStudents is the youth leader. With representatives in each of the EFCA’s 17 regional districts, a network of support is available to the 1,600 congregations that make up the association. This network connects youth leaders, whether volunteer or vocational, to real people and real support.
Through practical training and relationship building, ReachStudents helps youth leaders engage some of the most challenging and polarizing topics of our day. From race relations and same-sex attraction to the emotional weight of mass shootings and mental health challenges, ReachStudents provides a grounded, theologically-sound approach to ministry.
The rate of turnover for student ministry leaders is staggering. It is estimated that 50% of youth leaders last three years or less in their role. With the goal of ministry longevity and sustainability, youth leaders are invited to an annual four-day retreat called Renewal. This break from the normal pressures and rhythms of ministry allows youth leaders to connect with God, their spouse and their peers while they attend life-giving training sessions.
An investment of $250,000 annually helps ReachStudents care for those who are called to transform lives by building a Scripture-based, gospel-centered foundation in students. Help us offset the cost of the EFCA’s student ministry department as we continue investing in youth leaders.