The God of the modern evangelical rarely astonishes anybody.
He manages to stay pretty much with the constitution.
Never break our by-laws.
He’s a very well-behaved God and very denominational
and very much like one of us…
we ask Him to help us when we’re in trouble
and look to Him to watch over us when we’re asleep.
The God of the modern evangelical isn’t a God I could have much respect for.
Does your church try to attract the lost world by being just like the world?
Why would anyone want what they already have and are dissatisfied with?
The glory of the gospel is that when the church is absolutely different
from the world she invariably attracts it.
We are in a church now with no youth group, at least nothing beyond a few youth sitting together at a table for lunch. It is nice to not be having to worry about what is being pushed on the youth in order to be relevant, hip or cool. Previously we attended a church that did have a youth group, although my children were not a part of it, I was still concerned about the other youth and the effect the youth group would have on them. So often when I voiced concerns with leadership they were shrugged off as being just silly ideas from that “silly, over-protective homeschool moma.” Funny thing is the secular media has started voicing the same concerns over and over again about church youth groups.
DefCon has posted some more of the secular media articles about church youth groups. I think it is well worth reading what the world is seeing in our churches. Sometimes it takes someone else to point out the obvious to us. 🙁
When we decry the current condition of the youth in our churches (and the church as a whole) we are usually met with angry resistance. Now the condition of the youth (and the church) has gotten so bad that even secular news outlets are sitting up and taking notice.
The Wall Street Journal has recently reported on the sad state of the youth in American churches in an article aptly titled The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity.
But what sort of Christianity are they being converted to?
Truly is what you see in most youth groups Christianity? or is it World?
More studies are backing up the facts that we are losing a generation of teens in the church.
If you’re the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning:
Your child is following a “mutant” form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.
Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.
Dean drew her conclusions from what she calls one of the most depressing summers of her life. She interviewed teens about their faith after helping conduct research for a controversial study called the National Study of Youth and Religion.
The study, which included in-depth interviews with at least 3,300 American teenagers between 13 and 17, found that most American teens who called themselves Christian were indifferent and inarticulate about their faith.
The study included Christians of all stripes — from Catholics to Protestants of both conservative and liberal denominations. Though three out of four American teenagers claim to be Christian, fewer than half practice their faith, only half deem it important, and most can’t talk coherently about their beliefs, the study found.
Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on, she says.
“We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake,” Corrie says.
This whole article is worth reading whether or not you have children. Here is just a portion of the article.
… Lance Crowell, an SBTC church ministries associate, shares Ross’s conviction that at least a generation has grown up largely seeing the church ministers as the experts. Crowell said, “One thing has to happen. We have to answer the questions, ‘Are people really growing in the Word, and is that happening in the home? Are students growing up in the Word? Or are parents lost as to what to do to help that?”
Three resulting ‘disconnects’
More and more vocational staffers and ministry specialists have in many churches led to one type of disconnect—extensive segregation, according to Waylan Owens, dean of the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries at Southwestern Seminary. While Owens agrees that some segregation is useful, he also cautions that dividing all ministries according to age or life situation or preference serves to dishonor parents, dishonor the senior citizens, and dishonor the children and what they can add to the faith experience of adults.
Speaking to the conference, Owens said, “Many times I go to churches and it seems there is always someone who wants to take my children from me. They take them to Sunday School, then to children’s church. The youth have their own Sunday School, their own worship, and their own Sunday night thing. I have gotten in trouble for wanting to keep my children with me.”
In a breakout session on home-based student ministry, Ken Lasater, Crowell’s colleague at the SBTC whose job title includes student ministry, noted a second disconnect: “Our students are not developing lifelong connections to the church.”
In recent years, research has indicated that between 70-90 percent of churched students leave the church after high school. While LifeWay Research numbers from 2007 indicated a minority of young adults who leave the church eventually return to their faith roots, Lasater said that the most recent statistics indicate that about 90 percent are leaving, not to return.
According to Lasater, their reasons for leaving vary and they seldom go away in anger. Without responsibilities to fulfill at their church or someone expecting them to be there, they stay away, and eventually fade away lacking any deep connection. Lasater said it’s important to note that most of these students are good kids from all socio-economic levels, achieving great things academically, and that their absence is not due to some great rebellion.
“Some have suggested that churches fail to do little more than entertain them, until they are tired of the entertainment. Others suggest that the current church model is entirely wrong, due to not having parents as the singular leadership role for students, and that this has been the sole cause of the falling away of the student population,” Lasater explained.
Another disconnect comes as parents of each successive generation generally become less and less grounded in their beliefs, thus lacking in passion and devotion as well.
Crowell encourages churches to think about how their families would answer these questions: “How equipped do you feel? Do you feel that you can go home and have spiritual conversations? Would your children ask questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering? Parents, are you growing in maturity at home and becoming more like Christ?”
“Muscles that are not used quickly atrophy,” Ross told the TEXAN.
He added, “Parents who depend on the church for the spiritual development of their children tend to atrophy as well. Our churches are packed with parents who are just ‘good ol’ Baptists,’ but are not deeply in love with Christ, do not adore him at the beginning of the day, and who think little about his kingdom purposes as they move through life. That never was God’s plan. When one generation always is focused on spiritually leading the next, both stay more spiritually alive.” …
Here are a few ways my church is trying to address this issue.
1) Families worship together.
2) Children and youth are active participants in the church. This is not the typical occasional participation in a special service or in a youth group, but every Sunday with the congregation. Children and youth are encouraged to use their talents by playing hymns or special music. The young men are encouraged to help with tables and garbage. The young ladies are encouraged to help with the meal preparation, serving and cleaning. Sound, projection, website design, bulletins, videoing, etc. can be delegated to the young men. When they don’t know how to do these things we can be willing to teach them and not worry about perfect services.
3) The bulletin includes some Baptist Catechism questions and a hymn of the month for families to work thorough with their children at home. Who knows, parents may learn a thing or two, also, as they help their children.
Is your church losing their youth once they begin to drive or else when they graduate?
Do the adults stop coming as often once the children are grown?
Do you even notice the trends in your church or denomination?
“We have much the same problem in the Church…Mom goes off to her Women in the church…circle. Dad heads off to his Promise Keepers meeting. Princess is at her youth group meeting, while Junior is watching videos of vegetables in children’s church….the truth is we are failing miserably, even when we think we are succeeding. We’re allowing our families to be torn apart because we are allowing our families to be molded by the wisdom of the world.”
R.C. Sproul, in Bound for Glory
The home in the New Testament was the center of spiritual activity. Even a casual reading of the New Testament reveals that the home was a haven for prayer, healing, Biblical teaching, breaking of bread, hospitality, ministry to the sick, and happy, genuine relationships. In short, it was a place to display the truth, justice, mercy, and goodness of God.
Scott Brown, from the National Center for Family- Integrated Churches
Which describes your home and church life?
When I was the church librarian I would often have books donated to the library from members who had finished them. Sometimes they were very good books. Sometimes they were so old and outdated (not classics, or solid authors, but outdated) that I sent them on to the thrift store. But the fiction was always a concern.
I was amazed at what was passed off as Christian fiction. There were romance novels that had nothing to do with Christianity other than at the end the couple went to church. There were violent novels that dealt with the end times but left you wondering what the gospel really was. I was shocked at the books that were donated. I wouldn’t put a book in the library until I had screened it. I also rated books according to “my” rating system. My rating system was “Would I let my child read this book and at what age?” See I have a much more conservative system than the movie rating system.
Several times I would not let a child or youth check out a book without discussing the matter with the parent. That didn’t always go over well, as you can imagine. But I was responsible for what I allowed the children to be exposed to.
Since this was a Southern Baptist Church, the Left-Behind series was very popular to several members. Don’t bother though, you won’t learn a thing and there is much better things to read. The Amish Novels where also popular. I feel sorry for the Amish as a people having just trash written about them. While I do not agree with the Amish theology and their decisions with life, you must respect them for living out their beliefs unlike the average church member who says one thing and lives differently.
Being a church librarian has much potential but honestly I think a church library really needs to consider eliminating most fiction. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and maybe the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis being the few exceptions. Although I have serious concerns about even the Narnia books by Lewis, that would be hard to convince the average believer of the problems with that book.
Here is a humorous look at the “Perfect” Christian Novel. What does this say about us?
I think I have done it. I’ve come up with the ultimate idea for the ultimate Christian novel. This novel seamlessly blends today’s most popular genres into one beautiful, compelling, cohesive whole. I thought you would want to know all about it. So I give to you…
Cassidy: Amish Vampiress of the Tribulation
That’s right. It’s an Amish novel; it’s a vampire novel; it’s an end-times novel. It’s the best of all worlds. Continue
Two motions were referred to all SBC entities:
— that “all SBC entities should monitor” funds spent in “activities related to or cooperative efforts with Mark Driscoll and/or the Acts 29 organization” and entity heads should submit a report of expenditures to appear in the 2010 Book of Reports, submitted by Kent Cochran, a messenger from Calvary Baptist Church in Republic, Mo.
— that SBC entities avoid “inviting event speakers” who “are known for publicly exhibiting unregenerate behavior … such as cursing and sexual vulgarity, immorality, or who publicly state their support for the consumption or production of alcohol,” submitted by Ida South, a messenger from First Baptist Church in Mathiston, Miss.
On the recommendation of the Committee on Order of Business, Hunt ruled several motions “not in order.”
The committee chairman’s, Render, said three resolutions were not in order because of reflecting harshly on particular individuals.
— that author Mark Driscoll’s books be removed from LifeWay Christian Bookstores because of his “reputation for abusive and ungodly language and … promotions of sex toys on his church web site,” submitted by Jim Wilson, pastor, First Baptist Church in Seneca, Mo.”We need to live holy lives and bringing this man to our college campuses and promoting his books in the bookstore … I believe is a violation of Scripture.”
— that messengers encourage all SBC entities “to refrain from inviting event speakers” who engage in “cursing and sexual vulgarity, or who publicly state their support for the consumption or production of alcohol,” submitted by Larry Reagan, pastor, Adams Chapel Baptist Church in Dresden, Tenn.
A motion by Brian LeStourgeon, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Camp Verde, Ariz., sought to have Mark Driscoll “address the concerns of his accusers” at the 2010 annual meeting. Render said the committee declined LeStourgeon’s motion since it could have put the Convention in the role of exercising church discipline.
At least some are seriously questioning Mark Driscoll and his language in the pulpit. It is a shame though that nothing will be done until next year. What is there to think about? Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call to Mark Driscoll and his church.
Where are the men like this taking a stand for their Lord and their families I’ve had it with Mark Driscoll and his mouth. Now it’s personal!
If only the SBC would take a stand.
A certain young boy grew up in the church. When he was a baby, they gave him juice and crackers in the nursery. When he got older, they gave him cookies and punch in the children’s program. Then, he finally got to the youth group and graduated to pizza and cokes (or I guess Krystal and cokes now). See Can You Believe This? Youth Pastor
This boy grew into a fine young man and went away to the finest college in the State. During his first day in his first class, the professor began to deride the Christian faith as a crutch and defied any student to defend their faith to the class.
Our young man, having been in church, rose up and said “I’m a Christian, and nothing you could ask could shake my faith.” So the professor asked him one of the pointed questions so common to skeptics, agnostics and atheists. You know the kind: “If God is a good, kind, and loving God, and if God is indeed all powerful, then why are there little helpless children suffering in the world?”
The young man opened his mouth to try to answer this question which he had never even heard of before. And do you know what came out of his mouth? Crackers and juice, cookies and punch, pizza and cokes.
Seriously, I think the worst advice we give anyone in regards to being able to witness for their faith is the old line “But no one can argue with your own personal experience.” Oh yes they can. And they will. The church needs to be a place for equipping the saints to be able to cogently defend the faith. And the church should have a goal in this equipping of the saints – help them reach maturity.
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (ESV)
Berean Husband has been watching some DVDs of R.C. Sproul. He has enjoyed them. So if you aren’t familiar with Sproul here is an interview with him about the state of the church today.