Transformed: Equipping Youth Into Leadership, Rev. Jon Enter
In American Christianity, more than two-thirds of young adults who attended church regularly in high school will completely stop attending church after high school graduation. How sad! How spiritually dangerous!
The WELS fares better, but not by much. About half those who are WELS at 16-years-old will still be WELS when they are 36. There is not a substantial difference between those kids who attend a Lutheran Elementary school and those who attend public school. Either way, approximately half eventually leave.
Here is the reality. One of the greatest mission fields we have for the Church is in the church, in our pews…for now.
We have programs to assimilate new members into the fabric of our churches, but have you ever thought about assimilating youth into the church while in grade school and high school? We think we “have them for life” because they grew up inside the church. We don’t. We are losing them in terrifying numbers.
The strategies and methods taught in this session are gathered from churches blessed by the Spirit to be “getting youth work done” in an ever-changing youth culture. You will leave with a treasure box of tested and proven best practices, other churches to network with, and a refocused joy in how we can refocus our ministries to be less lecture or program based and to, Lord willing, transform youth in their relationship with Christ by the power of the gospel.
Rev. Jon Enter
Pastor Enter has been in the ministry for fifteen years and was assigned out of the Seminary to a congregation in West Palm Beach, Fla., with around seventy-five people worshiping on a Sunday, most of whom were retirees. He focused on creating youth programs, mentoring youth, and organizing youth services. God blessed these efforts and focus, and the Lord transformed the church. Currently, there are over sixty youth, 8th grade and under, in the church, as well as many high school students.
But that isn’t where the fruits of his passion for youth ended. Pastor Enter also created a youth rally called The Amazing Race Teen Challenge for high school students that hit its capacity five years in a row with 170 participants. He also took over as director of Camp South, a youth rally for middle school students, a year after it closed due to lack of interest and attendance. After revising the focus, programming, and marketing, Camp South now has typically over three-hundred youth in attendance with another sixty adults serving as chaperones.
Pastor Enter is known for his passion and knowledge about youth ministries. He has been the keynote speaker at several WELS International Youth Rallies and wrote a church ministry seminar titled Transformed to help equip youth leaders in their roles mentoring youth.
Pastor Enter is also a regular contributor on Time of Grace, a ministry that delivers God’s Word and Grace through television, print, and digital content to countless people.
Currently, Pastor Enter teaches and serves at St. Croix Lutheran Academy as campus pastor. There he continues his passion of impacting youth as senior religion instructor and organizer of mission trips. He also works with congregations to enhance their youth programs.