Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Youth Event Volunteer Says Church Has Failed Todays Youth Bribing Them With Pizza And Video Game Gospel

Leadership Journal has a tremendous, much-needed commentary on the lack of depth in many youth ministry groups.

It still seems pretty obvious to us: if you love Jesus, you’ll love him whether it’s fun or not. And if you aren’t interested in Jesus unless it’s all fun and games, you don’t love Jesus…you love fun and games. No wonder many kids “leave the faith” in young adulthood. They were never really in it. Drew Dyck writes:

A few years ago I volunteered at an event put on by a national youth ministry.

The evening was fun but grueling. We bobbed for apples, captured flags, and raced eggs across the floor using only our noses. The games culminated with a frigid indignity: I laid on my back and let three giggling teenagers make an ice cream sundae on my face.

As I toweled chocolate syrup from my chin, a leader ordered the teens into a semicircle. It was time for the devotional, which included a gospel presentation—but it was a gospel presentation that made me want to stand up and scream.

“Being a Christian isn’t hard,” he told the group. “You won’t lose your friends or be unpopular at school. Nothing will change. Your life will be the same, just better.”

Maybe his words would have slipped by me if they hadn’t been such blatant reversals of Jesus’ own warnings about the offensiveness of his message or the inevitable hardships of following him.

I glanced at the teens. One was flicking Doritos chips at a friend. Others whispered to each other or stared at the floor. None of them seemed to be listening. And why should they? I wondered. Who cares about something that involves no adventure, no sacrifice, and no risk?

Unfortunately what I witnessed that night is hardly unique. Often ministries, especially youth ministries, are heavy on fun and light on faith. It’s fired up entertainment and watered down gospel.

Perhaps we’ve settled for entertaining rather than developing followers of Jesus.

…The real problem is when they displace spiritual formation and teaching the Bible…we’re distracted from doing the real work of youth ministry—fostering robust faith.

Read More From Worship.com

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