Within Reach: The Power of Small Changes in Keeping Students Connected
By Ben Trueblood (LifeWay)
According to a poll by LifeWay Research, two-thirds of high school graduates who were involved in church left the church after starting college. Within Reach is Ben Trueblood’s response to the startling statistic that has kept several youth workers—including this one—up at night. Trueblood, director of student ministry at LifeWay Christian Resources, analyzes data from a survey conducted in late 2017 to find out how many students drop out and why.
It would be very easy to assume this book is one big commercial for LifeWay; however, this is not the case. Instead of revealing the problem and saying “buy our curriculum to solve it,” Trueblood offers subtle shifts that any youth worker or church can begin applying today for a bigger impact tomorrow.
While the book is centered on the staggering statistic of 66 percent of active students graduating from high school and the church, it is not a book to make youth workers feel bad about the job they are doing. Instead, its purpose is to analyze the data and articulate simple shifts that won’t solve the problem overnight or individually, but together over time can keep college students connected to the church.
These subtle shifts cover everything from the obvious, like having students engage with Jesus, to the often-overlooked power of having adults other than the youth leader invest in students. The book closes with a handful of action steps and a last bit of exhortation to the local church. While the statistics are troubling, young adults who leave are still within reach.
Micah Roddy, student pastor
First Baptist Church, Corpus Christi