Many churches and families have programmed a youth ministry finish line at twelfth grade. We walk our seniors out the door, breathe a sigh of relief, and let them disappear for a few years. We assume they’ll return to church later, probably as adults with young families in tow.

The problem is, if we let them go, we may never see them again. Too old for youth group and uncomfortable with labels, college-aged and twentysomething Christians become disconnected from faith. Almost imperceptibly, they become less and less involved in church and faith, and eventually, absent altogether, in what we call the slow fade. Yet as these young people face critical decisions that affect the rest of their lives, they need their faith communities more than ever.

So what’s the answer? You. Coauthors Reggie Joiner, Chuck Bomar, and Abbie Smith (a senior leader, a college pastor, and a twentysomething) offer insight and suggestions and make a compelling case for personal, intergeneration relationships as the way to stop the slow fade. It’s easier than you think!

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Lauren Terrell


Reggie Joiner is the founder and CEO of Orange, an organization designed to redefine ministry approaches for churches and family environments. For nearly 40 years, he’s mentored teachers and leaders who influence the next generation. Reggie and his wife, Debbie, have raised four kids into adulthood.

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Chuck Bomar served nine years at Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, before moving to Portland, Oregon, in 2008 to start Colossae Church. When he is not out of town speaking at conferences or consulting with churches and denominations, he is home with his family. Chuck and his wife, Barbara, have three beautiful daughters: Karis, Hope and Sayla.

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Abbie Smith attended Emory University and accepted Christ in the spring of her freshman year. After four busy years of campus ministry involvement and playing on the tennis team, she graduated in May of 2003, majoring in religion. Abbie is a graduate of Talbot Seminary with a degree in spiritual formation and soul care and the author of Can You Keep Your Faith in College? She resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

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