Churches with youth ministries and churches without them lose kids at about the same rate.
Churches that offer VBS, camp, Bible classes, etc., lose kids at the same rate as those without them.
Big churches lose kids as rapidly as small churches. The same rule applies to worship styles, demographics, even geography.
That’s right. “Youth ministry” as traditionally conceived in Churches of Christ makes NO STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE in the retention rate of kids who grow up in it.
In fact, the only real predictor of youth retention is the marital status of the parents.
If Mom and Dad are committed to God AND TO EACH OTHER, their kids are far more likely to stay faithful as adults than kids whose parents are separated either by death or divorce. Even then there’s no guarantee, but as ministers it’s the best we can do.