Christian After School Programs – What Is Cost Effective?

“Is this cost-effective?”

If you have read through this Blog very often you know that we recommend that in serving at-risk kids you have no more than a 1-5 ratio. That is one adult to every five children. I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked . . .

Aren’t you throwing money away by “walking with so few kids through life? 

And upon hearing this question, I am never sure if I want to cry or scream.

Realizing that if a church youth group, or a para-church outreach ministry, has 200 kids in their weekly ministry, but 10 years later only 5-10 of those kids are still “walking” with Christ…is that truly cost-effective?

Jesus himself did not spend the majority of his time with the masses…yes, he preached to them and did outreach type things with them…but the majority of his time was spent “mentoring” and “walking through life” with 12 men…more specifically three men (Peter, James and John) who were the ones God used to turn this world upside down.

So who are we to think we can do more, or better than God himself?

Would it not, in the long run, be more cost-effective to invest in a small number of children for a long period of time, seeing these children grow to be Christ-changed, hope-filled, productive adults who multiply themselves to the point they are changing everything around them?

From an investment standpoint, if I were investing in stocks, and I was only getting a 2-5% return on my investments I am not sure I would stick with them. Why is our investments in how we disciple children in youth any different?

What kind of return are you getting on your investment?

“…When the focus is on youth development, nearly 70% of young people in the most challenging of life’s conditions not only survive, but grow into thriving adults.” 
-Resiliency: What We Have Learned, Bonnie Benard

Now that is what I call getting “bang for your buck;” just imagine adding the power of God’s love to that? Wow!!

If you read the book you will learn that that 70% is based on 1 adult with a few children.

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