Saturday, May 24

Thoughts on Youth Group

Last weekend we were at the Teach Them Diligently Conference in DC and got the pleasure of hearing Mr. Voddie Baucham speak. I was highly impressed by his down to earth, humble, and humorous approach to the issues that face us, and even more impressed by his well crafted speech about Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard. During a Q&A portion of his speech, someone asked his thoughts on "youth group." The entire audience laughed and he moved on to the next question without answering because, or course, that's such a huge and controversial topic.

Tackling the 'youth group' question is really difficult for a variety of reasons. First, what exactly is a youth group? There is no standard - every youth group looks different in every church, and what one church calls a youth group may not fit what a youth group looks like in a different church. Second, we tend to combine the youth group question with the family-integration question. While they are very related, just how related looks different in every church. Third, every parent and every church approaches the youth group question a different way. For instance, some churches never give the youth group model a second look, but parents within that church pick and choose youth group activities for their children to participate in. Another church may doctrinally appose youth groups but form other groups for youth to participate in.

Summary: IT'S COMPLICATED!  Entire books are written on this very topic!

But I'll let you know what worries me about youth groups...

It worries me when we hire a pastor JUST to develop, organize, and fund youth activities but that same pastor never works with non-youth in the church.

It worries me when pastors and elders don't speak up about youth acting in an unGodly way while in the church or participating in church activities.

It worries me when entire youth group activities occur without a single prayer, bible reading, or mention of God.

It worries me when parents completely isolate their children from peers to avoid potential 'contagious sin.'

It worries me that many youth group activities facilitate sinful behavior (i.e. co-ed lock in's, bikini-clad beach trips, late night rock concerts).

It worries me when youth group occurs during church services, or otherwise takes children away from parents during worship time.

It worries me when youth have little or no contact with older believers of the same gender, yet spend hours of carefully planned time with fellow youth in church sponsored activities.

It worries me that churches are eager to 'attract' youth (supposedly to God) through fun activities, yet fail to even bring up God. In other words, reeling them in then letting them flounder.

It worries me that churches, pastors, elders, and church members aren't giving a second thought to the activities of their church's youth group.

We all know the quote "the unexamined life isn't worth living" but what I would like to hear instead is "unexamined choices lead down a dangerous path."

1 comment:

  1. I would complain for hours and hours about my youth group. I'm sure that I could.

    I mean, I'm not going to, but in short, I get pretty worried too, Cameron.


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