Thursday, March 22, 2007

Does the Church Revolve Around the Kids?

Here's a stellar article by Matthew Hoskinson of Heritage Bible Church in Greenville, SC, in case you haven't caught it already. Here's a statement of the problem, but read the whole article to see his idea for a solution:
For the first 18 years of their lives, we tailor an unending succession of programs and events to cater to them. We entice them to come to church activities by telling them what they will get out of it. We create competitions based on spiritual things—Bible memory, sword drills, even personal devotional time—hoping that somehow God’s Word might lodge in their hearts. None of these things is inherently sinful, but taken together they give young people the impression that the church revolves around them. Even the phrase youth ministry implicitly teaches them to view themselves fundamentally as the objects of service.

Once teenagers graduate from high school, however, they are suddenly confronted with a church that no longer revolves around them. We explain to these young adults that God expects them to serve others and not themselves. But for years, our example has taught them that the church exists for them. So when the church stops meeting their perceived needs—when the church stops existing for them—they have no reason to stick around.


Charles Whisnant said...

As a youth minister for over twenty years, pastored for another twenty years, I know the problem with churches that do not go beyond the youth department. Keeping teens in church following their high school years is a task that many church do not address. So do a great ministry to young adults most do not.


Mike Gilbart-Smith said...

Is that why you call it "paleoevangelical" because you think that we should center gospel ministry around old people? ;-)
Joking aside, a great article - should be compulsory reading not just for youth pastors, but for everyone with teenage children.