My name is Brian Poe, the pulpit minister of the Dexter Church of Christ in Michigan. Creating the investigative study called, “Why They Stayed”, I set out a few years ago asking as many young adults in Michigan who have remained in the church, “Why did you stay?” Many researchers have pursued the course of wanting to know why the young adults are leaving and what we are doing wrong, but I was more interested in what the faithful have done right. If we can capitalize on the few things we are doing right, we may be able to change the pattern that has been plaguing our congregations for several years. My research is unique from many others in that I did not want to know what books had to say, nor did I want to go to research polls. I went to the source, I went to the young adults themselves asking them why they stayed. My goal was to create a usable and practical video series accompanied with a workbook for congregations to use in a study if they chose to.
My research began in 2015 when I created a survey with many different style questions all intended to help understand why they stayed. When the survey was created, I began calling every church in the lower peninsula of Michigan. I was able to reach 68 congregations in which I was able to send the survey. The leaders of each congregation were asked to distribute the survey to each of their young adults from the ages of 19–39 who were still faithful in the church. Over the course of the time allotted, I received 113 responses. The next few months were occupied with sifting through each of the surveys and attempting to find patterns and helpful data to determine the answer to the question, “Why did you stay?”
I was able to uncovered four key reasons why they stayed: 1. Mentorship; 2. Preaching relevant truth; 3. Involvement; and 4. Community and family. Using this information, I created a second set of questions that would be used for the video series. Eight young adults who also took the survey were willing to participate in a video interview where I asked questions specifically related to the four key reasons listed above. The videos and the workbook are intentionally built around those four key reasons. As you watch through each video, there are “Practical Reflection” questions in your workbook to assist you in following along and to help create classroom discussion. There is also a “Biblical Refection” at the end of each chapter that can either be used in discussion or for personal study.
This study has been done with one purpose in mind: to see the church equipped with the appropriate tools to help their young people become more engaged and grow up faithfully to follow Christ. I pray that these videos and this workbook may be the first of many resources used toward this end. May God bless and enrich you as you follow him.
Please click the link below for a printable workbook to follow along with the DVD series.
Please click on the appropriate link below for one of the four DVD lessons.