Well, It’s About Time!
December 17, 2011 by dkevinbrown
I’ve been saying it for the last 7 years and people looked at me like I had 9 heads. I’ve brought in speakers at the church, such as David Alan Black to speak about it and I’ve written a book on the topic myself. What am I rattling on about this morning?
I’m saying, “Well, it’s about time that the mainstream of the Baptist denomination is finally understanding that youth ministry as we know it today does NOT work.” If you don’t believe it, just ask yourself…”Over the last 10 years name all the young adults in your church who have graduated and where are they now ‘spiritually?’” The answer is: most are NOT in church or involved in the things of God.
Take a look at this article just released in the Biblical Recorder:
“Making Fruitful Disciples of the Next Generation”
December 8 2011 by Buddy Overman, BSC Communications
A recent study by the Barna Group found that nearly 60 percent of young people leave the church either permanently or for extended periods of time after age 15. A 2006 Barna study (http://tinyurl.com/3ao3q7p) found that 61 percent of young adults involved in church as teenagers no longer attend church, read the Bible or spend time in prayer.
Brain Upshaw, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) church ministry team leader, and Steve Wright, pastor of Family Discipleship at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, believe there is a way to reverse the trends. During a breakout session Nov. 8 at the BSC annual meeting they shared how the church and parents can partner together to make fruitful disciples of the next generation. Upshaw and Wright said the root of the problem is that many parents and churches fail to embrace the biblical mandate that requires the participation of both the faith community and parents in the discipleship of children. In recent decades too much responsibility has been placed on the church.
“We have unintentionally communicated to parents that if you will bring your children to church we will disciple them and give them back to you as informed disciples,” Upshaw said. Wright suggested the next generation will be reached if parents and churches each do their part. He told parents to share with their children the glorious truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to follow the example of how families in the Bible lived on mission for God.
“In scripture, family would be engaged in the mission of God whereby eternity would be weighed in the balance,” he said. For example, parents can model missional living by devoting family time to studying God’s Word, praying with their children for the lost people in their neighborhoods, and by sharing their testimony with their children.
In doing so, parents will teach their children how to live boldly for Jesus Christ. Wright said that churches using the attraction model for youth ministry need to rethink this strategy. The attraction model calls for the youth pastor to build the youth group around numerous fun activities and to organize exciting outreach events in an effort to get young people involved in church. During the past three or four decades, the attraction model has been a mainstay of youth ministry in many churches.
According to Wright, the problem is that the attraction model can send the wrong message to children because it often appeals to the flesh rather than placing an emphasis on the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Appeals to the flesh set kids up for disaster, especially when they go off to college,” Wright said. “If there is any hope of reaching the next generation, they must know and understand the gospel. Only that message will endure [for] eternity.”
In addition, Wright told the audience that young adults are leaving the church in part because too many of them have been involved in youth groups that are segregated from the rest of the faith community. As a result, many teenagers do not have a basic understanding of the church’s role in the life of a believer and as the bride of Christ. “Our kids graduate from those types of youth groups and they go off to college having never been incorporated into the life of the church,” Wright said. “The last place they want to be on Sunday morning is in a boring, dull church.” Wright said the solution to reclaiming the next generation for Jesus Christ is to approach youth and children’s ministry from a biblical perspective. “The church and parents are not barriers. They are part of the God-given solution.”
To learn more about how churches and family can partner together, listen to the Church and Family Connect Podcast. Visit ncbaptist.org; click Resources and under Audio, choose “NC Church & Family Podcast.”
Well, there you have it! If we want to raise Christ-centered young adults, we are going to have to begin the process in our homes. Can the church help? Sure…but, Dads particularly are going to have to take the reins of discipleship back and begin doing the job. And if you have young adults in your church with no father, then you and I are going to need to “adopt” them into our families and show them what a “family” looks like…nurture, love and mentor them.
This is why I wrote my book…
Buy a copy here…
I have a passion to transfer our faith in Jesus Christ to the next generation. I pray that our churches and church leaders will see that we must point to the Scriptures and the role of the family in imparting Jesus to the next generation.
This is why the recent “Courageous” movie was such a hit…
This is why we had 46 men step up and say they want to lead their homes and signed a “Resolution” to prove it…
It’s time…it really is…it’s time that we prioritize our lives to make certain we impart Jesus to our children so that the next generation will know Him. I’m pumped! Now the leading news disseminator of the North Carolina Baptists…The Biblical Recorder sees this too! Woohoo!! Maybe now we’ll quit wasting so much time and money on pizza blasts, putt putt and ski trips and do the work of empowering families (particularly dads) to disciple their children.