Skip to comments.Study finds youth groups destroy Christian faith in young people
Posted on 06/02/2014 6:03:21 PM PDT by ebb tide
A study commissioned by a protestant organization has found that Christian youth groups, with an infantile approach to the faith and a focus heavily on being hip to this fallen culture, are a predominate factor in driving many young people from Christianity. Mind, this study looked at Christians in general and not Catholics, but the Church has mimicked disastrous protestant programs in recent decades and has reaped the same whirlwind of devastation:
A new study might reveal why a majority of Christian teens abandon their faith upon high school graduation. Some time ago, Christian pollster George Barna documented that 61 percent of todays 20-somethings who had been churched at one point during their teen years are now spiritually disengaged. They do not attend church, read their Bible or pray.
According to a new five-week, three-question national survey sponsored by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the youth group itself is the problem. Fifty-five percent of American Christians are concerned with modern youth ministry because its too shallow and too entertainment-focused, resulting in an inability to train mature believers. But even if church youth groups had the gravitas of Dallas Theological Seminary, 36 percent of todays believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not even biblical
..Todays church has created peer dependency, McManus says. The inherent result of youth groups is that teenagers in the church are focused on their peers, not their parents or their pastors. Its a foreign sociology that leads to immaturity, a greater likelihood of sexual activity, drug experimentation and a rejection of the authority of the Word of God.
I was going to go on about the Prussian school model and the isolation from the family it tends to engender in children (indeed, it was designed to do just that), and how it is unsurprising that when Christians including the original Christians, Catholics perpetuate this model by dividing up families and having special Masses for this group, special programs for that it tends to be self-defeating.
The family is the Church in microcosm. As goes the family, so will go the Church, and vice versa. Anything that tends to negatively affect the family such as educating children away from parental influence, with huge emphasis given to how their peers perceive them will negatively effect the Church. Lifeteen Masses, CCD, teen youth groups with often highly questionable programs all these things at least tangentially weaken family unity. They also help further inculcate children in the culture of peer dependence noted above, and when many young adults today are not just unfaithful regarding their religious duties, but are out and out atheist-communist enemies of the Faith, it is not surprising that so many of these young souls fall away.
So many of these programs are adopted almost unthinkingly, in a spirit of imitation that demonstrates both a lack of understanding of the Faith and of human nature. Catholic parishes have vacation bible schools because protestant sects have them. They even use the same, protestant-generated teaching materials! Thats just one small example, I could continue on and on through the entire panoply of mimicry. It shows how deranged from the right understanding and practice of the Faith so many in positions of authority in the Church have become.
Anyway, go to Mass as a family. Dont go to goofy, gimmicky special Masses. Home school. Pray together daily. Carefully monitor your kids activities, especially on the computer. You cant guarantee youre children will remain faithful throughout their lives, but if you do the above, demonstrate virtue, and avoid obvious vice you will immeasurably increase the likelihood that your kids wont fall away from the Faith.
World Yute Days and LifeTeen Masses come to mind.
Agreed. Faith as socialization.
Christian education is very important. str.org is an organization that has a good student ministry—teaching kids to THINK, not just “relate” to the world.
I checked your link. Thanks, but no thanks. Check out the Baltimore Catechism instead.
It’s way past time to tell our youth that they may be persecuted for their faith. They should be preparing by reading the scriptures and praying faithfully.
Thousands of Christians die every year because of their faith. Our time for testing will come as we’ll.
katy perry and brad pitt were involved in youth groups. we need to build solid foundations of the bible education. young people are bible illiterates. i’d rather be a prophetic minority than a mushy majority.
Heh. I didn’t think it’d be a favorite of Roman Catholics. Nevertheless, my point being: a thinking Christian student is better than one that merely “relates” to the lost.
What you said. Post 3
I believe Ann Bernhardt calls it “super fun rock band church”
My guess is the youth groups reflect the church they are from.
The basic points here are correct that the experience of youth in church should not be divorced from the experience of church as family. We have pandered way too much to the culture of youth in the church. That being said there is nothing wrong with youth having youth centered ‘Bible Study’ or extra meetings that speak directly to the problems and positives of being a young Christian in a secular world. Also discussions in regard to vocations or how to express an authentic faith are great but should not exclude the experiences of older Christians, Ministers, Priests etc. I would think the failure rate would decrease depending on how much the more mature members of the congregation are engaged by the youth leader or group. I have no numbers to back this up but personal relationships and the ability to see more mature Christians live out their faith are bound to keep the bond to church stronger!
Youth groups have a tendency to atomize. They buck against the biblical concept of one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism. While it is true we all go through seasons and stations in life that shift and change, that is all the more reason to participate together in Divine Service on a regular basis - all ages and vocations - with a Pastor who is called and placed in service to the Church, being devoted to “feeding the sheep.” If youth in a parish are going to do activities as a separate group, let them be closely guided, taught, and supervised by God-fearing adults while doing works of service for the elderly and neighbors.
“One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism” is not merely a concept, but the overarching Reality found in Christ Jesus Who builds His Church.
"According to a new five-week, three-question national survey sponsored by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the youth group itself is the problem. Fifty-five percent of American Christians are concerned with modern youth ministry because its too shallow and too entertainment-focused, resulting in an inability to train mature believers. But even if church youth groups had the gravitas of Dallas Theological Seminary, 36 percent of todays believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not even biblical
..Todays church has created peer dependency, McManus says. The inherent result of youth groups is that teenagers in the church are focused on their peers, not their parents or their pastors. Its a foreign sociology that leads to immaturity, a greater likelihood of sexual activity, drug experimentation and a rejection of the authority of the Word of God. "
Trying to be hip and cool doesn’t help them grow in Christianity? Well, who could have foreseen this? Like, everyone?
The same reason it is hard to find real solid Christian faith in the pews of a Mega-Church.
Todd Friel on the show, “Wretched” has been onto this problem for a long time. He had videos of teens eating peanut butter out of the armpit of their youth pastor, etc etc. Yes, this is an epic FAIL.
Lumping all protestants together on anything always makes you wrong.
Are you kidding? A bunch of Bishops and Cardinals, dancing like monkeys, praising Pope Francis rather than Jesus Christ, while following the dance moves of Fly (who posed naked for a homo magazine).
Later, they passed out Holy Communion in plastic draft beer cups as if they were passing out peanuts.
I think World Yute Day and LifeTeenMasses are more protestant than anything the Protestants have come with. Since Vatican II, the Pope, Cardinals and Bishops have become determined to be more protest than the Protestants. And they’ve succeeded!
Going to a youth group as a young person doesn’t mean one is a Christian. Parents can force their non-Christian children into church youth groups.
re: Christian education is very important. str.org is an organization that has a good student ministryteaching kids to THINK, not just relate to the world.
I agree. Not only good for kids, but for thinking adults.
The resources, curriculum and milquetoast themes and peer chat that consumes whole dioceses is junk food for little ones and teens.
There is no excuse for hearers of all ages not to be educated in the faith; Sacred Scripture, Catechism of the Catholic Church; Fathers of the Church; canon law; Catholic History; the Doctors of the Church; the Saints Lives.
There is no time to waste, and this stuff sets souls on fire.
Why would it ever be discardes in favor of head banger music, designer coffee and 2nd Grade Reader lessons?
God proposes and never imposes himself upon us.
We are free to reject Him and to minimize piety, sanctity and obedience, causing the young to starve.
“discardes” = discard
Indeed. Kids are sadly thinking that church is supposed to be like Disneyland when it is not and should never be.
Well, I hope you're prepared for the grand Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of Luther's revolt against God in 2017.
I plan to make a general confession the week before that travesty (just in case).
Things we did in youth group was play baseball or football. The youth group this same church has today participates as helpers at Camp Barnabas, a camp for mentally afflicted folks. Many of these campers are in their 20s with groups like ours helping them for a week.
I do think many youth groups waste time on silly activities and it does depend on the leader of the group as to how much they learn spiritually.
I do not think 4 or 5 days of VBS per summer hurts any child. The youth group concept can cause peer dependency though, I think. We were taught to look up to our elders and I remember the deep prayers they offered during church and the leadership they provided. Of course, the 60s and the disrespect for authority or those older moved the goalposts even in the church I believe.
So, my conclusion is youth groups can be bad, public school is definitely bad with its herd mentality, and we are allowing all of it to happen. Satan is very happy.
Does it surprise anyone that satan attacks and tries to destroy anything that leads young people to Christ? Why? That’s his job. He’s good at it. The only protection from the 2nd most powerful being in the universe is to have the MOST powerful watching over you. Those youth groups that stray from following Christ will not help kids to resist satan’s many snares, and many of them will be dragged down, like a zebra that has strayed from the herd falls to the lion. Those that focus on teaching kids to understand the Bible, to pray, and to follow Christ will generally be successful in producing Christ-centered kids that are much harder to drag down. Not impossible - just harder.
I have been involved in youth ministry (Baptist) for many years, as a youth leader and Sunday school teacher. There are many influences on kids today other than their youth group - blaming the youth group for kids falling to satan is like blaming Bush for global warming. Today’s youth groups may be the only positive influence in the lives of many kids - behind fallen kids you will generally find fallen parents, siblings, friends, authority figures - all of whom have way more influence that the youth group.
One of the reason Lutherans lost many to Orthodox in the last several years. They don’t bother with rock bands and gimmicks.
I have found that to be an issue in churches both large and small.
“They also help further inculcate children in the culture of peer dependence noted above, and when many young adults today are not just unfaithful regarding their religious duties, but are out and out atheist-communist enemies of the Faith, it is not surprising that so many of these young souls fall away.”
Might explain why a majority of Catholics vote Democrat and Evangelicals vote Republican?
From this author’s point of view, the results should be opposite.
The gay community has through the media succeeded in perpetuating the lie that homosexual sex make a boy/girl feel fulfilled.
I saw a fantastic video from a Conservative Korean Christian group in South Korea - a few years back. It was all vignettes shot during the course a Christian father-son camp.
The camp was about a good Christian father-son relationship and about how a good Christian father-son relationship can help fathers and teen sons through the son’s teen years. It was not just about the son obeying the father, but about the father understanding the son. It was not just about the son accepting discipline but understanding the father.
There was even scenes, tearful, when fathers and sons took turns washing each other’s feet and telling each other what they were going to do to be good Christian fathers and sons for each other.
It was the kind of camp Christian teen boys need and ought to have.
There ought to be the same thing for Christian mothers and daughters, and maybe among the South Korean Christians I was watching there is. And maybe here in the states there is. I just haven’t heard of it.
I am not a fan of Barna. His polling seems to be marketing for his cool materials which will solve all the problems cited in the polling data.
Turn off the cable tv. No excuses just shut it down. It is a pipeline of filth into your home.
Get your kids onto a good childrens program. They are the future of the church and you need to invedt in their future.
The intent is to make church a normal activity, one they will adopt as normal for an adult.
Did I mention cut off your cable tv?
The problem isn’t with the youth groups.
The problem is with the parents who’ve abdicated their responsibility in raising their children and are expecting the youth group to do their work for them - that is, giving their children the spiritual basis and training that it the parent’s responsibility to give.
Youth groups are not meant to be surrogate parents. The best they can really do is provide some additional support in that job and provide some outlet for social activities that don’t involve drinking and drugs.
It’s getting harder and harder to find true Catholicism.
Get ready to lock and load.
There are real areas of persecution.
The leader of my son’s Presbyterian youth group “let go” his friend that was helping out. Seems his 27 year old buddy couldn’t keep his hands off his steady girl friend. As goofy as some of the fun stuff that they do is, I was pretty impressed that the idea of sexual purity was so strong.
They have a fun-night once a month, the other three Sunday evenings are a bit of fun, an hour of Bible study, and a half-hour of praise music. And another evening in the week for separate girls and boys Bible studies.
What I have heard is important is that the kids “own” their faith in their own way. Yes, we worship together as a family, and pray together and talk about things as a family. But it needs to become their personal faith.
I also think that they need to do some work in the church as a community with others (not just painting the youth room or whatever). Working side-by-side with a 70-year old is enjoyable for both. And of course their youth mission trips where they have contact with others not like them is a huge growing experience.
The youth that I have seen at a few churches of late seem like they have their acts together - better than my youth group when I was a kid. (Which yes - was mainly a social thing.) Lots of them are going to college to study ministry, medicine for the purpose of missions, etc.
I hope that there are enough of them to pull us out of the quagmire we are in now.