A Comparative Analysis of the Church Retention Rate of Christian High School Graduates
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SubjectHigh school graduates--Religious life
Young adults--Religious life
The purpose of this study was to examine the claim that 70 to 90% of youth ministry participants abandon the church after high school graduation. Chapter 1 examines the current statistics related to the church retention of young adults. The research questions used to guide the study are introduced. In order to accomplish the goal of the study, Shields' Youth Ministry Retention Questionnaire (YMRQ) was used to compare the youth ministry commitment of Christian high school graduates with their current levels of church involvement. Chapter 2 reviews the critical literature to this study. The issues of the role of church and the calling for Christians to be together, understanding who is defined as a young adult, and Protestant schooling in America are explored. Chapter 3 describes the process by which the data for this study was gathered. Graduates from the four types of Christian high schools (covenantal independent, covenantal church-related, open-admission independent, and open-admission church-related) were invited to participate in the YMRQ survey. All of the respondents were graduates of ACSI member schools. Chapter 4 reports the analysis of the data from the completed surveys. The data was analyzed using Chi-Square tests and ANOVA tests to determine the statistical significance between the two variables. For all levels of youth ministry commitment, these young adults maintained a low to high level of involvement with a church after graduating high school. Bridging the language of statistics and the language of the practice of youth ministry, a clearer retention rate of Christian school graduates is 82.9%. This percentage represents those students in the moderate and high levels of church engagement as young adults. The final chapter presents the conclusions based on the findings of this study. Any variances in the data and the reasons for their existence are also explored. Based on the results of the research, applications are made for Christian schooling and local church youth ministry.