Friday, March 09, 2007

Worldly Youth Groups

They have their own unregulated world where adults have little or no access. From Myspace to instant messaging to youth group "worship gatherings". It's a movement cut off from the rest of the church. Worship times led by a youth leader who embodies a worldly image and style that many youth only wish they had the guts to flaunt in the face of their parents. Led by a youth leader with a confidence and an eloquence in speech that intimidates mild-mannered older folks from even daring to imply that there seems to be a love of the world in the outward appearance and affections of the leader.

This unfettered youth environment discourages the God ordained structures of church authority and adult oversight where critical discernment and good judgment could be utilized. These are the unfettered youth programs in many churches, unrestrained and free from the shackles of propriety and appropriateness. Anything goes styles of worship and expression is common place. Who's to say it is not right? Who's going to be the wet blanket and raise the red flag of discernment when song or worship mirrors the world's self-gratifying methods? Who will dare to say "your worship is worldly" or overly feelings based? Where is the elder adult who has the spiritual stability and maturity to understand the complicated web of proper
worship versus "anything goes" worship?

But what are we to expect when the church leadership props up a dynamic pied-piper as a leader? Leaders who seem to overlook doctrinal error so long as the kids show up. Their love of an eloquent tongue seems greater than a love for biblical accuracy. Leaders who are so desperate for numbers that they are willing to tolerate little falsehoods. You know, the ones that are sympathetic towards, and flirt with affections for ancient Roman Catholic mystical "disciplines" like contemplative prayer or the catholic eucharist. Or ideas that compete with the Great Commission like "the other half of the gospel" which is
to feed the poor and save the village or saving the environment. Ideas like these are given equal status or even considered actually spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But who is going to speak up? Who is going to be the boy who tells the emperor that he has no clothes on? Who will go against the king as Micaiah did in 1 Kings 22? Or as Elijah?

How long will the older folks remain silent?

The youth in our evangelical churches are being groomed to become the next generation of blind mice. Who will tell them that they should submit themselves under Biblical church leadership? Biblical that is. It surely won't be their youth leader. Not church leadership that is ambiguous on the tough issues. You know, like telling a young person that you should dress with decency when entering the doors of the church out of a sense of reverence to God. Or like telling the young person why they should never again wear the t-shirt that says "Jesus is my homeboy". Or another one like how you as a young man with earrings are feminine. Or how God did not create your body to be a piercing pin-cushion, following in lock step fashion with the God rejecting lost secular world.

Please, older folks, speak up. Your young are confused and misled! Has this happened because YOU have remained silent for too long? They are misguided by the world. They love the way the world looks, the way the world sounds, what the world values. Take a close look. They are NOT emulating you. They are copying the world. May God forgive our silence. How long will you remain silent? Before it's too late?



Blogger Janie said...

Thanks for this post. We have young cousins immersed in their "youth ministry" and the content, if you can call it that, it questionable to say the least. I don't get out much and I am sure that I would really be shocked if I knew how bad it really was. I just found your blog and it looks great. I'll be back again!

11:14 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Janie, this is one of the reasons my brothers and I left our former Baptist church.

Their youth group has gone Emergent

7:14 AM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

Janie, this is one of the reasons my brothers and I left our former Baptist church.

Their youth group has gone Emergent

7:14 AM  
Blogger Clemntine said...

Our family has recently begun regularly visiting a new church. Our reasons for leaving our former church were many, but began and ended with the "Student Ministries" area.

We would like to have the youth minister of our current church to our home, with his wife of course, to get to know them and their vision and purpose in ministry.

Are there specific straightforward, gracious questions we could ask, should they accept our invitation?

5:46 AM  
Blogger Hank said...

I believe the test of truth is 'who gets the glory'. I believe I understand the fears of youth as they struggle to relate to the world this present generation, my generation, has given them where Egocentristic truth or relativism seem to be the mantra. It is important I believe that the young generation see modeled in our leaders a humble Christ centered servanthood that sacrifices self first, in a desire to know truth and honor God above all else as our Lord and supreme example did. I do not believe a healthy psych (please forgive my appeal to the enlightened ones language) can ever be real without realization that God has spoken to men, and His word made flesh in Christ has been revealed in the 66 books of the Bible as the Truth. I also believe we the Church must begin to function more like the Body of Christ and less like competing businesses. I commend you Ken for the exercising of your gift of exhortation.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog so much describes the direction my children's youth groups and leaders were taking. Therefore, we chose to remove our children from these programs and are sadly having to remove ourselves from our church also.

This is a church my husband has attended and served in his entire life (50 yrs)and I for over 20 years, almost as long as I've been a Christian. It is a church we have loved and never wanted to leave.

However, when you have youth leaders referring to Bible study as a "bunch of B.S." and saying it's ok because the kids like it and it gets them interested in coming, then you know you have worldly youth leaders.

When you have kids and youth leaders running wildly all over the church climbing on top of stacks of chairs and on tables yelling and screaming and playing games that are not just distasteful but are at times downright disgusting, then you know you have a worldly youth group.

When you have youth leaders who teach using Scripture completely out of context to promote their worldly "prayer" methods taken from Eastern and new-age religions,then you know you have not only worldly but also heretical youth leaders.

When you have youth leaders who use material and teachings by people like: Rob Bell (who teaches yoga meditation to youth), Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Rick Warren, etc., then you not only have worldly youth leaders, but you have heretical youth leaders.

And when the rest of your church leadership not only ignores all concerns expressed about this and other false teaching, but is continually teaching and promoting these and other false teachers and false teachings themselves, then you know your church for the most part has become worldly, heretical, and apostate.

It doesn't matter how sincere they may seem and it doesn't matter if some of the things they say sound good or some of the things they say are "basically true" because you cannot mix truth and error. You cannot love God and His Word, if you love the world and its methods, systems and teachings. You cannot love the One and Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ if you accept and promote the teachings of those who re-define who He is and what He came to do.

Wake up Christian church! Wake up Christian parents! Youth groups and youth ministries, for the most part, are no longer safe places for our children to be. It is critically important that you know exactly what they are doing and being taught. But, unfortunately many parents are as equally misled into deception as they are and don't even want the truth themselves. What a sad state we are in.

James 4:4 says:
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.


3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They will accept spiritual authority on paper and will speak kindly of it but will utterly reject that same authority when it is implemented.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

My dear friends,

I agree with you that some recent trends have cheapened the centrality of the cross and resurrection of Christ. I believe there is a need to stand up for the fundamentals of the faith as was done to react to modernism in the 1920's.

However, my concern is the same as what happened with the fundamentalist movement. We've moved beyond the fundamentals to things like: kids running around a church, earrings, tattoos, and the clothes one wears to church. These things are not fundamental to the Christian faith. They are not a sign of heretical teachings.

Let's stand for substitutionary atonement, inerrancy of Scripture, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, etc. But to wrap those things (which some are challenging) together with dressing appropriately and stopping the running around in church does a disservice to what's really important.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with you Dan in implying that non-essentials are not important. That's almost like saying that it doesn't matter how you build the house, just so long as you have a good foundation. Walls leaning, windows leaking, roof missing, etc. Who wants to live in a house like that?

Sure, the essentials you mentioned are the most important. But that pertains mostly to determine whether someone is a believer or not. But when it comes to how Christian young people should act and look, it is very important and must not be overlooked.

The reason I believe we do have these problems with clothes, earrings, tattoos, behavior and so on is partially because too many adults and parents have ignored indications of rebellion and identification with the world and have said "Well, it's not really an essential matter, so let's just focus on what really matters and not nit-pick on how the kids look and talk." This reaction is wrong and is lacking in love for young people.

What would you do if your son came home with all black hair and lips and finger nails and wearing a shirt that says (blank) you!? Would you say, "well at least he's here at home and not running around the streets."?

2:53 PM  

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