Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Modern Youth Ministry Labeled "Indisputably Unbiblical"

In a recent conference, Scott Brown, director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches, claimed that modern youth ministry is "indisputably unbiblical."

Here are a few tidbits from the article:

Age-segregated youth ministry, trained youth ministers and programs to draw and entertain youth are a new invention in the history of the church, Brown said.

"Modern youth ministry is also inherently destructive in its impact. It divides the church by creating generational division and multiple cultures instead of a unified 'body,'" he maintained.

. . . age segregation leads to the isolation of an individual's perspective to one that only looks outward from within the confines of their age group and excludes the lessons that can and should be learned from previous generations," he adds.

The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches holds that the biblical order and unity of the family are crucial to the stability and health of the Church of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, churches have contributed to the breakdown of the family, the center claims.

"We now have almost three generations of children who had no father who walked beside them but a youth group instead. It is obvious that half a decade of youth group does not produce young people who are passionate about the church."

Research and estimates by youth workers have suggested that a majority of youth group seniors drop out of church after graduating.

Brown is quick to point out that while he rejects youth groups, he supports ministry to youths. He advocates generous investments in teaching Scripture to teens.

Having been a part of the church machine for the past 25 years or so, and most of that spent in youth ministry, I have to say that – for the most part – I agree.

I don’t have a problem with teens having their own group, but I’ve seen it go way too far – to the point where teens don’t know what to do with themselves after they graduate and are no longer a part of the “youth group”.

I also don’t have a problem with burping contests, and snot shot contests, and all those crazy things, but I’ve seen those become the soul purpose of the youth ministry. In all my years, I always strove to teach solid Biblical doctrine to teens while allowing them to have fun on their own terms. And, all in all, it worked pretty well. The main emphasis, however, must be the Biblical presentation of the gospel and discipleship.

And Brown hits a home run with his indictment of the failure of families (and fathers in particular) to teach Biblical truths in the home. That, in fact, is the Biblical pattern.

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