Over the last decade there has been a mass movement (more like that of bowels) of parents who are extremely upset that the ‘local church’ isn’t do everything to make sure their kids (children and teens) stay out of trouble, fall in love with Jesus, choose church over the world and become the deep Theologians that they are NOT.
The sad truth is that the church is doing more harm than good when it comes to ministry to youth because of this attitude toward parents. Let me break it down to you very simply. The local church’s job with young people is to meet their spiritual needs in order to ‘qualify’ and edify the teachings of the parents. If the parents are not teaching the Christian life and directing the righteous standard found in scripture for our lives, then there is little or nothing the church can accomplish except creating division in the home.
Yes, youth can and do come to know Christ through the local church from time-to-time however, according to national polls done by youth, parents have an 85% influence on the believes and decisions of their lives. Youth workers in the church have about a 5% influence and the main youth leader carries less than 3%.
So what are we going to do? Well, as soon as we find in scripture where it is the job of the local ‘church staff’ to raise children we would “de-sin” a majority of parent’s lives as well as relieve frustrations from many ministry leaders. After an extensive search, we haven’t been able to find that text in entire Bible on any level. The responsibility belongs to the parents.
As we continue in our journey to see youth come to know Christ and then find a deep rooted love for Him and His Word, we will ALWAYS see a narrow and wide path. Unfortunately, with today’s churches becoming program and activity driven, you will no longer see the deep seeded faith of young people like you have in the past. In order to see a change in this paradigm, we are going to have to exhort the local church to change their focus and put it back on God’s unfailing Word.
Ministry programming to children and youth must accept the challenge of health and forsake the popular opinion of the masses to ‘give them their king.’ Leaders of churches need to resolve to a three fold purpose:
- EQUIP adult leaders who can spend time investing in YOUTH and PARENTS in a real, life changing, life mentoring relationship.
- EDIFY the home and partner with families equipping them and holding them accountable to TRAIN and LEAD their children in righteousness. It’s amazing that we won’t allow our children to skip school, work, homework, bathing, practice and studies, but when it comes to the Word of God and the eternal investment of their short lives on Earth, we let them choose so we don’t come across pushy. I pray that when I stand before God, that I cannot say I allowed my children to choose their own path while they were still impressionable.
- ENCOURAGE living for Christ because He accepts us and we can only give Him our lives in return. Teaching children of the King that our lives should be the standard and that EXTREME love is the example. Matthew 22:37
There are other things that we can add to this list, but honestly, we don’t need them. The CHURCH needs to be IN THE WORLD – I guess that is the problem sometimes is that we are in the world and the world can’t tell us apart except for our self-righteous talk and the way we let others take our responsibility and then wonder ‘why’ it’s all a mess in the end. Parents (of which I am four times), we must take up our cross and do what God expects for us to do with respect to our children’s spiritual lives. The church is here for support and family, not for our jobs to be easy.
(John Allen Turner – Faith 2.0 has written an article similar in nature, “I have looked all through the Bible and have not found one verse that tells churches how to raise kids. God put those kids into a family — under your leadership — and he calls you to do the heavy lifting. Raise your own kids. Stop relying so much on the church to do something God hasn’t called or equipped it to do.”)