Sean Bevier has a theory about why young people aren't attending church in large numbers.
The theory, backed up by statistics, suggests that holding fun, youth-oriented activities is not the best way to encourage youngsters to consistently attend church. Rather, Bevier said the best way to ensure youngsters attend church and continue to into their adulthood is for adults to mentor them and study with them.
Bevier, a 1985 Willard High School graduate and the son of the late Donald and Patricia Bevier, has found that out through his work with Passing the Baton International. The Dayton, Tenn.-based nonprofit organization offers student leadership conferences to help Christian schools become nerve centers for leader development.
Bevier, Passing the Baton's student leadership director, cited statistics indicating the need for such development. For example, among individuals 23 and younger, only 4 percent call themselves Christian and go to church.
"We want to see those statistics climb again," Bevier said.
He doesn't want to see this statistic climb: 70 percent of Christians in their 20s are not attending church.
The statistics come from Barna Research Group. According to its Web site,www.barna.org, the group serves the information needs of churches by offering statistics, resources, seminars and custom research on current cultural and spiritual trends.
In response to trends indicating declining church attendance, Passing the Baton wants to mobilize 1 million adults by 2015 to mentor, disciple and coach the next generation of culture shaping leaders. The organization tries to reach people through various seminars, books, curricula and workshops.
Why 2015? That's the peak year for the retirement of the Baby Boom generation.
"Today's leaders will retire with no clear plan for what happens next," said Dr. Jeff Myers, founder of Passing the Baton International.
As a youth, Bevier wasn't prepared to lead spiritually. He attended Willard Alliance Church regularly, but had no relationship with God; he only worshipped because his mother forced him. One day, his church's youth pastor asked him if he wanted to engage in discipleship.
"What he introduced me to was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ," Bevier said.
In college, he majored in education because he wanted to work with youngsters. He was a history teacher at a Christian school in New Jersey for 17 years.
After completing his master's degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision in 2001, Sean became the high school assistant principal at TCS and later served as the dean of students in charge of student activities, leadership development and spiritual formation.
He has been in spiritual leadership ever since, speaking in school chapels, local churches and at teacher conventions.
According to his biography, his desire is to "see young people hear, learn and live out the truth of God's Word in their lives."