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Monday, 13 October 2014

Youth Ministry is Segregation

There are startling statistics that "church" youth ministries have been ineffective. Two-thirds of the youth are going to abandon the church. There is something that is hindering them from growing up and the result produces “fake” Christians. The gospel of fun, games and flashiness have replaced the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ. Generations of youth have abandoned the faith and do not want to respect the Word of God.

  • What is the inspiration behind so many youth turning their backs on the Christian faith?
  • Why do they not respect the church and have contempt toward Christian responsibility?

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Simply put, the answer is summed up in this Scripture verse. If the generation of our youth are not trained in the way that they should go, there is a failure.

  • Who is responsible?

The modern "church" of today is structured with the youth ministry. It consists of fun and games peppered with a Bible verse here and there. Under closer inspection, the youth ministry has always been a hindrance to the gospel and is harming the family and the Church. What usually resonates with the youth about their leader was that he is a cool guy who could relate to them on the same level. This may sound harmless, but the statistics show that more than eighty percent of the youth that come out of these programs have turned away from their faith in God.
The modern "church" youth culture says that by going to fun “Christian” concerts with light, smoke, and music are a way of bringing them closer to God. The youth are exposed to the worldly experiences and call it “Christian.” Music and entertainment are emphasized over sound Biblical teaching, which means that the truth of God’s Word has taken a back seat to fun, games, and parlor tricks. The distinction between worldliness and Christianity has becomes blurred into the same thing.
Many of the youth believe that the Bible is not literal, but uses figurative language. “It doesn't matter if God created the world in six days, or over a course of millions of years because what really matters is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me.” The problem arises when we start to reinterpret the Bible through the lens of man’s ideals in one area of the Bible, it then opens the door to applying it to the other areas as well.
  • Why do the youth have so many doubts about God?

This is even happening with the kids who are living in a Christian home with their parents.
The masses of youth are attracted, the money is there, the events are stellar, but there is no fruit that results.

  • When these kids go to bed at night, do they really know who, or what "it" was all about?

Smashing watermelons, making music videos, and watching Harry Potter; what has this really accomplished in their hearts? The hip folk hero youth leader is nowhere to be found in Scripture.

  • Are we as parents taking responsibility for passing Scripture and its principles on to our children?
  • Is it the youth pastor’s role to do so?
  • Is being a master at fun and games with a MTV atmosphere to get people in the door really going to bring a generation up on fire for Jesus Christ?
  • Is this the representation of the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ?
  • The youth want something that is authentic, but does that come with premeditated man-made programs?

The real definition of authenticity comes from something that is true and real and is not contrived. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a consumer brand that is sold to the masses. The modern "church" promises truth, but it is relative. They have opened their arms to the foolishness of the world’s ways to reach the youth of today.
What it boils down to is when you contrast the foundation of what the real authentic Church of the Bible should look like, it in no way resembles the modern "church" at all. If Scripture was acknowledged as the standard for the church, youth ministry would cease to exist.
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Primary source documents reveal that the origins of youth ministry and Sunday school come from ideologies of men like Robert Raikes who attempted to reach prisoners and under-educated kids with his social reform programs. His prison program eventually failed and the error of his Sunday school program can be seen by its affects today. It is apparent that the family nature of the Church has been destroyed for segregated ministries and "church" programs. Fathers and mothers have relinquished their responsibility to disciple their children and the youth have become segregated into their own culture. The pattern of "church" education has become exactly the same as the secular world. The church hallways and the school hallways are no different. The youth are chattel who go through a series of processes or curricula into segregated age groups and become products of the “Gospel.”

  • What happened to the Biblical principle of children being discipled by their parents?
  • When did the church become a segregated classroom environment?
  • When did it become inappropriate for adults to be segregated from youth and youth segregated from the children?
  • Could we be seeing the borrowing and acceptance of evolutionary thinking in the modern "church?"

A brief understanding of the historical roots of the modern "church" youth program methodologies lead all the way back to 380 BC where the philosopher Plato had the idea that children must be separated from their parents. In the 1700’s, Jean Jacques Rousseau believed that education of the children is more important to the state than to their families. And, as already mentioned, Robert Raikes founded a social reform program called Sunday school for street children. G. Stanley Hall applied Darwinian evolution to child development theory, and John Dewey instituted the age segregated learning environment.
It is obvious the modern "church" has embraced these humanistic seeds and the bad fruit has manifested. They modern "church" fails to realize that the ideologies of these men were at war with God. The modern "church" has become a reflection of Athens, not Jesus Christ.
Discipline and instruction.
Discipline and instruction.
In contrast, there is a term called “family discipleship” with a purpose to encourage everyone to respond to God, and equip families to do what He has called them to do. It is not about whatever makes man respond, that is the distinction between starting points. Instead of Biblical foundations, secular psychology and pragmatism are being used as an extension of the Gospel, which means that man’s ways are better than embracing the principles in Scripture. Innovation that promotes reaching to culture with principles and forms of worship that God does not accept is dangerous and apostate.
Uzza in the Bible, with good intentions tried to save the Ark of the Covenant from falling to the ground, but he did it in a way that God did not accept and he was killed (1 Corinthians 13:9-10).
It is quite clear that the modern "church" today has promoted “death.” They have reached out and grabbed the things of the world against what God has explicitly made clear in His Word. When we do not follow the inspired pattern of the Apostles, we neglect their authoritative and binding testimony.
The New Testament Churches were age integrated; the children were right there in the meeting. Older men and women discipled the younger generations. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, you find the unsegregated assembly of the believers who were men, women, and children. When an usher tells you that you cannot bring children into the sanctuary, it negates what Jesus Christ said in the Bible,

But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Luke 18:16

When entire households and families can come together in unity and worship Jesus Christ as the head of the church, it is a beautiful thing. As parents of youth, we are to communicate the truth of God’s Word to our children while they are living with us in our house holds.

  • What does family discipleship look like?

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:1-4
Father or Youth Pastor?
Father or Youth Pastor?
Fathers, it is your duty to love your children enough to teach them God’s Word. We disciple the children we love, to the God we love.

  • When we truly understand the blood that Jesus Christ shed for all of mankind, how can we not make His love the focal point in our children’s lives?

All the money and man hours of youth ministry is Plan B. It is a secular plan that has its origins in pagan ideologies. What looks like success is a deceptive illusion. The statistics cannot be denied. When God is denied, His life changing power is denied.
The problem has become twofold. The “Christian” home has not stepped up to the plate to take responsibility for their God given role. The parents have become negligent in their responsibility and duty to disciple their children. Additionally, the church has not created the unsegregated atmosphere to equip fathers to thrive in their role as a parent. What corrupts the family and the church is allowing things that are completely foreign to Scripture to take precedence. Youth ministry has turned the father’s attention away from their Biblical duties and given them an easy out. When the church authority usurps the parent’s duty as acceptable, it makes you wonder who is the authority and head of the church.
Having over eighty percent of youth, which include those who are on the fence and those who have turned their back on God is unacceptable as they transition into adulthood. The youth pastor and their leaders will be held accountable before God for promoting “another Jesus,” and “another Gospel.” To be blunt, when the church paves the way to hell for the young generation, the Bible has a description for those who endorse this type of rebellion.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:21-23

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? – 1 Corinthians 10:21-22
Daughters too!
Daughters too!
As a father, I want my children to see me as their hero and want them to hang around me. I want them to come and ask me the hard questions, not to go to some immature, hip, youth leader/ entertainer. Man-made tradition says that youth ministry is essential to the modern "church," but it is a compromise of secular ideals. It is doing more harm than good to families because it usurps the authority that God has given to the family, especially the fathers.
When the true Biblical standard is applied, it admonishes the fathers to turn their hearts toward their children, and the youth pastor becomes an irrelevant and clear hindrance to family unity. God has appointed fathers, not the youth pastor to lead our children. It says nowhere in the Bible that someone with an institutionalized degree, or seminary training qualifies someone to have spiritual jurisdiction over our children.
The institutionalized modern "church" are doing exactly what the secular philosophers have promoted by replacing family responsibility with social programs. The modern church has infringed on the role of the parent.

  • Is the modern church supposed to take care of "it" for us?

Biblical nurturing and correction are the parent’s responsibility in a child’s life. The parents are the ones who have the tools to shape the younger generation. Trained kids are the result of responsible parents, not the institution. When the parents outsource their responsibility, the family unit crumbles. In and outside the church, fathers have neglected their role and it has manifested into generations of youth who do not have any positive father figures. The institutionalized church is trying to fill that void with youth ministry. When we are willing to obey God in a specific area such as do away with the youth ministry office, the fruit of it will result in inclusion versus segregation.
The true Gospel is about bringing all people together no matter what culture, age, gender, or race. In the true Church, there is a vast array of gifted people who can fill the void of the fatherless. The true church of Jesus Christ has many grandfathers, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles in the faith who can care for a lost generation.
A group of peers within a youth group is not a stable family environment. What creates stability is equipping fathers to do their job. Youth ministry steers a child’s heart to their peers, youth pastor, boyfriends, or girlfriends and creates an unbiblical, segregated environment. God did not ordain youth ministry, but He did create family and harmony within the Church. Each of us have responsibilities to be obedient to what is clearly laid out.
Throw out the tradition of man.
Throw out the tradition of man.
There is absolutely no evidence of youth ministry and its patterns in Scripture. If you are youth leader, this will be very counter cultural to you, but I guarantee that whatever counter arguments are contrived, they will have no biblical foundation. The results and statistics cannot be refuted. When we enter into a jurisdiction that God has not given us, the results will be spiritual death.
The Word of God is sufficient. We do not want to stand before God thinking that we "helped" Him out by grabbing a hold of fallen humanistic ideologies. The Word of God, the duty of the Church, and the responsibility of the family is clearly laid out. Throw out the garbage of the man-made traditions and allow the power of Jesus Christ to take hold. The simple solutions of truth will take courage to uphold. The modern institutionalized church will “kill” you for it.

  • Are you willing to “die” for the truth of the scripture?
  • Are you willing to trust in the truth?

The modern "church" has abandoned the principles in discipline and training; the devastation is evident.
Abandon the conventions of man and become part of obeying God’s plan for family, youth, and the Church, and become reunited with the true and genuine plan of Jesus Christ.