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Has Youth Ministry Failed?
The Hermeneutic of Continuity ^ | 5/9/12 | Fr. Tim Finigan

Posted on 05/09/2012 6:02:44 AM PDT by marshmallow

Should we abandon Youth Ministry? Patrick Archbold at the excellent Creative Minority Report has posted a provocative article headed Youth Ministry Has Failed. I agree with him that

We have 2,000 years of doctrine, liturgy, art, and music upon which to draw in order to bolster the faith and Catholic identity of our youth and we give them watered down doctrine, bad music, bad liturgy, and felt banners. Our youth deserve more.

He refers to an article on U.S.: Modern Youth Ministry a '50-Year Failed Experiment,' Say Pastors and quotes a section in which the view is advanced that "dividing children from adults at church is an unbiblical concept borrowed from humanistic philosophies."

This is worthy of discussion. Since I was a teenager myself, I have been involved in events which are specifically for young people - either teenagers or young adults. Coming into contact with home-schoolers and those organising Family Days of various sorts, I have come to see the advantage of having events for a mixed age group.

A standard criticism of home-schooling is that the children are deprived of socialising. Home-schoolers will naturally respond wryly that the kind of socialising that goes on in a narrow peer group at school is one of the reasons for home-schooling in the first place. At Youth Ministry events organised for a peer group, the question of discipline or "appropriate behaviour", call it what you will, often presents a major task for the organisers. There are usually statements on the invitation literature about standards of behaviour and sanctions. Somebody generally has to oversee these things and they can become a headache. I have also heard parents complain at times about the bad influences that their children are exposed to.

At Family Days and home-schooling events, this problem is markedly reduced.

(Excerpt) Read more at the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS:
I think this is an issue which cuts across all denominations.
1 posted on 05/09/2012 6:02:46 AM PDT by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow

I don’t think for a second youth ministry has failed.

For teens, there are excellent events for them to attend and spend time with their age-group.

For kids, Sunday School and stuff like that is when they are most likely to be reached and most likely to make a commitment.

What has failed, is the watering down of Christianity to try to attract people. This is done in both adult and youth ministries.


2 posted on 05/09/2012 6:08:40 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: marshmallow
We have 2,000 years of doctrine, liturgy, art, and music upon which to draw in order to bolster the faith and Catholic identity of our youth and we give them watered down doctrine, bad music, bad liturgy, and felt banners.

Just youth ministry? Sounds like a typical ordinary form Sunday mass to me.

3 posted on 05/09/2012 6:10:31 AM PDT by jtal (Runnin' a World in Need with White Folks' Greed - since 1492)
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To: marshmallow
I think this is an issue which cuts across all denominations.

You would be correct. Between youth ministries that don't integrate the youth with the adults and church having two services, with one being "traditional" and the other "contemporary", we divide the Body of Christ within our own ranks.

My pastor put it this way: Often, we (the church) bring the kids in through the youth ministry, and often keep them segregated from the rest of the church (this is especially true for para-church youth ministries). Then, when they are too old for the youth ministries, they are removed from the only church they knew, and discover that the rest of the body does not worship they way they knew. Then they become disaffected with the church, and leave.

4 posted on 05/09/2012 6:11:55 AM PDT by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
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To: marshmallow

The Church should not be segregated into groups. According to the Bible, we are all one body with Christ as the head.

Many young people are joining the Orthodox bodies that have not deviated from that central teaching about the Church.


5 posted on 05/09/2012 6:13:11 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: kosciusko51

The Youth Ministry at my parish had over 100 youths participate in a 24 hour Food Fast on Easter weekend. They raised over $10,000 for Catholic Relief.


6 posted on 05/09/2012 6:15:15 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: kosciusko51

If you keep the youth seperated from Church, yes. I don’t see a problem with having a contemporary service or a more tradiitional service to choose from. It’s a matter of preference. As long as both services are sticking to the word and not watering down their message there is no problem.

My grandfather goes to a church that has two services. He went to the contemporary service one week and did not like it. Said it was too loud. That’s fine. Both services preach the word. The church doesn’t say that they are two different churches.

It’s no different than a church having 3 services to accomadate the amount of people. Is that church 3 different churches? No. It’s one.


7 posted on 05/09/2012 6:17:39 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: massgopguy; justice14
Look, I am not saying that ALL youth ministries or ALL churches with multiple contemporary/traditional services are bad, I am saying that some present a problem, and we need to be aware of them. I also understand that in a larger church, multiple services are necessary to accommodate the congregants.

In my own experience, I went to a relatively small church (<200 regulars) that decided to have the contemporary/traditional service. They scheduled the traditional service at 9:30 and the contemporary at 11. As a result, the church self-segregated into two camps that only met between services. As a result, the church was weakened by the lack of fellowship, and many were disaffected and left. Only after they abandoned the split service did they thrive again (and even then, the damage was done).

8 posted on 05/09/2012 6:32:06 AM PDT by kosciusko51 (Enough of "Who is John Galt?" Who is Patrick Henry?)
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To: marshmallow
I think this is an issue which cuts across all denominations.

Agreed. Not only do we segregate them, but we usually entrust them to a young, single person with zero practical experience in raising kids. I suppose that's okay if they're looking for a buddy who can relate to them. However, I would prefer that they find a mentor who can provide spiritual guidance that reinforces the values that we're trying to instill...

9 posted on 05/09/2012 6:35:53 AM PDT by awelliott
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To: kosciusko51

It’s a danger. It takes good leadership to bridge that gap.


10 posted on 05/09/2012 6:37:37 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: marshmallow

I disagree. If you can get teh children into church, and by that phrase I do mean that the kids are excited about going to church, they will be a Christian for life. The may not go in their 20s as we see so often, but they will be back.

We have about 9,000 children in our church and they can’t wait to get there on Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon, and Wednesday nights and Saturdays for special events, and Vacation Bible school, and camping trips in the summer, and etc. We have kids who come from other churches to our Vacation Bible School and then attend their own the week after.

As far as music goes, the contemporary Christian music, loud and fast, is many times their humming music. It also is used as dance music at their non church parties.

Worship should be lifestyle and Children’s Ministries are a big part of that. Start them early. Make it stick.


11 posted on 05/09/2012 6:41:59 AM PDT by buffaloguy (uab.)
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To: marshmallow

I am sorry to say that the youth ministry in our old church just came to a screeching halt within the last 2 months. The married 35 year old youth minister was having an affair with a girl from the youth congress. It has shattered the youth in the church and caused many families to leave. I am thankful we moved to a different parish after a new pastor started his liberal leanings about 5 years ago, or my daughter would have been right in the mist of it. This kind of thing rocks the youth and destroys their very foundations of trust. It is truly said that one man’s sins can cause so much damage. Please pray for our youth, especially one’s who truly love God and want to live a faith filled life. They are being attacked on so many levels and really need our prayers to help sustain them on their journey of faith.


12 posted on 05/09/2012 6:46:52 AM PDT by JPII Be Not Afraid
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To: buffaloguy
We have about 9,000 children in our church

Dear goodness, that's a lot of kids. Awesome though.

I agree whole heartedly though. If we don't find sound doctorine that relates to kids, they will lose interest. Don't water it down, but make it relate to them.

13 posted on 05/09/2012 6:48:01 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: JPII Be Not Afraid

That’s rough. Satan’s attacks are real and strong.


14 posted on 05/09/2012 6:50:53 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: JPII Be Not Afraid

Youth Ministries must have ZERO TOLERANCE for any kind of documented sexual misbehavior. These are happy hunting grounds for the damed DEVIL.


15 posted on 05/09/2012 6:55:43 AM PDT by Broker (Matthew 5:11)
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To: justice14

That is exactly what we do. Get to them early and get them thinking adult thoughts and they really respond.

It is a lot of kids. Sometimes it seems as if I am going to church with munchkins.

LOL...


16 posted on 05/09/2012 6:56:12 AM PDT by buffaloguy (uab.)
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To: justice14
What has failed, is the watering down of Christianity to try to attract people. This is done in both adult and youth ministries.

Church's have not done anything to attract younger people. My church still plays the same old geezer hymms from the turn of the last century. I just can't relate.

Church's put those hokey old sayings out on signs such as "What is missing from ch__ch? I think of Aunt Bee types thinking those things up while doing her needlepoint.

And they wonder why younger people have no interest.

17 posted on 05/09/2012 7:02:26 AM PDT by trailhkr1 (All you need to know about Zimmerman, innocent = riots, manslaughter = riots, guilty = riots)
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To: marshmallow
I think this is an issue which cuts across all denominations.

Correct. In some denominations, religion is becoming little more than a marketing exercise to see who can attract the most college students. Unfortunately, mine is one and I've been fighting that for years.

18 posted on 05/09/2012 7:05:05 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Obama vs. Romney: Zero x Zero = Zero.)
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To: justice14

Several reputable studies show that between 84% and 92% of children who have attended Sunday School flee the Church by age 30. If these figures are even close to accurate Sunday School (or “age-segregated” learning) is a dismal failure. Apparently it’s not only the government that clings to failed programs . . .

The Sunday School movement, which began in Britain in the late 1800s as a children’s literacy movement, is most certainly the new kid on the block. It’s time to recover the Biblical pattern of parents teaching their own children and parents and children growing together in the Lord.


19 posted on 05/09/2012 7:05:56 AM PDT by Charlemagne on the Fox
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To: buffaloguy

That is truly awesome though. It’s so important to reach those kids when they are younger.


20 posted on 05/09/2012 7:06:15 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: trailhkr1
Church's put those hokey old sayings out on signs such as "What is missing from ch__ch?"

Unfortunately, too many churches would answer "your" instead of "you are".

My church still plays the same old geezer hymms from the turn of the last century. I just can't relate.

My church has drums, guitars, bongos, everything except an organ I haven't heard in nearly three years. Let's trade churches.

21 posted on 05/09/2012 7:07:40 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Obama vs. Romney: Zero x Zero = Zero.)
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To: trailhkr1

Some have done stuff to attract younger people. It’s just a matter of finding the right one. Again, it’s important that the church did not water down the message though.


22 posted on 05/09/2012 7:19:54 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: Charlemagne on the Fox
Several reputable studies show that between 84% and 92%

I'm searching around and I can not find those numbers at all.

My pastor has asked the congregation multiple times "how many people have been saved through Sunday School"? It's easily 75%. Sunday School and youth ministry is an important part reaching kids on their level.

You mentioned that it should be the parents. That's a different topic all together. Parents can still be involved in their kids faith development even with Sunday School. That's not a Sunday School issue. that's a parenting issue. Which also might lead to the Sunday School numbers you posted so high. If the parents don't show interest in their kids Sunday School learning, why should the kids care?

23 posted on 05/09/2012 7:27:41 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: marshmallow
I think this is an issue which cuts across all denominations.

Got that right.

The most recent White Horse Inn audio would probably be of interest to you: WHI-1100 Reforming Youth Ministry, Part 1.

"Holding tanks with pizza."

24 posted on 05/09/2012 7:37:39 AM PDT by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: Colonel_Flagg

very well said!


25 posted on 05/09/2012 7:49:27 AM PDT by LUV W (This space reserved for heroes)
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To: justice14

I don’t doubt those numbers, but many, many people come back to the church in their early thirties after they are married and perhaps have children.

And they stay. It may be just a season of life issue.


26 posted on 05/09/2012 7:50:43 AM PDT by buffaloguy (uab.)
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To: buffaloguy; Charlemagne on the Fox

What would the numbers be if there was no Sunday School? I would say, even higher. Like stated previously, some parents come back to church when their kids get involved with a program. That would kind of point to Sunday School being important. It plants a seed in the parents head that makes them want that for their kid (even if the parent has fell away from the church. If the parents didn’t fall away, then it’s a moot point b/c they obviously know the importance of Sunday School).


27 posted on 05/09/2012 7:58:02 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: justice14

**What has failed, is the watering down of Christianity to try to attract people. This is done in both adult and youth ministries.**

So true.

We had one youth minister who was a fun person — everything was fun — hardly any learning.

Now we have a hard-working youth minister with larger classes and with the last half hour spent in front of the Holy Eucharist in the monstrance for prayer.

Our numbers have increased, but I think there is still room for growth.

With the fun person — everything was done their way. Now with the liturgy and doctrine person — a youth choir has started. Youth help with greeting people as they enter church (used to be called ushers), etc.


28 posted on 05/09/2012 7:59:31 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Godly leadership is unmeasurable.


29 posted on 05/09/2012 8:03:49 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: justice14

Another thing I was wondering was whether the teens whined too much and parents caved in and didn’t send them to youth nights like they did First Communion classes??

I always took my kids, regardless of their whining, but have recently found out that one of them skipped and went down town and then returned when I came to pick him up.


30 posted on 05/09/2012 8:10:48 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Lee N. Field
I think this is an issue which cuts across all denominations.

Somewhere along the line a false philosophy was thrust into the Christian community that the youth would save the world. Christian adults were reduced to paying for extravagant trips for youth ministry experiences that should have been done in their community with adults serving as mentors. It is the responsibility of all adult Christians to train up youth in the way they should go.

Adults have pushed their responsibilities onto young people. According to this false philosphy young people are supposed to change the education system, stop drugs, sex, and every kind of sin while Christian adults just sit there and watch television shows that should not enter their homes.

What happened to the older women will teach the younger women, the men will train up their sons?

It is time to get back to the basics: all generations united together to reach the lost in every generation.

31 posted on 05/09/2012 8:12:41 AM PDT by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!)
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To: Lee N. Field
I think this is an issue which cuts across all denominations.

Somewhere along the line a false philosophy was thrust into the Christian community that the youth would save the world. Christian adults were reduced to paying for extravagant trips for youth ministry experiences that should have been done in their community with adults serving as mentors. It is the responsibility of all adult Christians to train up youth in the way they should go.

Adults have pushed their responsibilities onto young people. According to this false philosphy young people are supposed to change the education system, stop drugs, sex, and every kind of sin while Christian adults just sit there and watch television shows that should not enter their homes.

What happened to the older women will teach the younger women, the men will train up their sons?

It is time to get back to the basics: all generations united together to reach the lost in every generation.

32 posted on 05/09/2012 8:14:27 AM PDT by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!)
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To: Salvation

That’s frustrating. On one hand, they need to develop their own faith or it won’t last. On the other hand, it’s your job to guide them towards that personal relationship.


33 posted on 05/09/2012 8:16:42 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: marshmallow

What we have lost is family ministry. No longer are mothers home to teach their little ones right from wrong, to comfort them, or to just be there when needed.

We have become a ruled by lack of time and lack of enough money. Home seems for many to only be a please to sleep before the next rush rush day. A never ending process.

Our youth have been lost to the streets and street morals. They only trust in themselves and those around them.

We need real families, mom’s and dad’s who love each other and there kids enough to fight and pray their way through any and all difficulties.


34 posted on 05/09/2012 8:22:32 AM PDT by wizr (Keep the Faith!)
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To: justice14

Billy Graham feels very strongly that “Cradle to Grave Christianity” is the way of the future and I have to agree.

If you want your church to grow, start a strong children’s ministry. The parents will follow the children.


35 posted on 05/09/2012 8:24:14 AM PDT by buffaloguy (uab.)
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To: buffaloguy
If you want your church to grow, start a strong children’s ministry. The parents will follow the children.

I agree.

36 posted on 05/09/2012 8:31:14 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: justice14

The spirit and message of Christ is very idealistic and appealing to young people when it is delivered through the Holy Spirit.

Trying to make Jesus into a pop culture sensation, given the culture is the opposite of Jesus, has failed. Big surprise there.


37 posted on 05/09/2012 8:34:59 AM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: SaraJohnson

Yes it is. It’s a matter of preaching the true message. Not watering it down. Using different methods to achieve that goal is not a bad thing. Using a piano, organ, acoustic guitar, electric guitar doesn’t make the church bad or not. It’s what is said with those instruments. Speaking behind a pulpit with a robe or standing with no pulpit with slacks and polo doesn’t matter as long as what’s being said is the word.


38 posted on 05/09/2012 8:40:34 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: stars & stripes forever

“What happened to the older women will teach the younger women, the men will train up their sons?”

They are called volunteers.

It works, too. The kids are being trained in a way that pleases God.


39 posted on 05/09/2012 8:42:01 AM PDT by buffaloguy (uab.)
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To: buffaloguy

Don’t have a lifestyle. Have a philosophy.


40 posted on 05/09/2012 8:47:33 AM PDT by AceMineral (Will work for money.)
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To: AceMineral

A lifestyle of worship is much, much better than a philosophy of worship. I have been on both sides of this argument and the lifestyle of worship is not only superior but leads to an instinctual Godly life. The rationalist approach (philosphy) didn’t work for me.


41 posted on 05/09/2012 9:07:40 AM PDT by buffaloguy (uab.)
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To: marshmallow

Problem with the youth ministries I’ve seen is they don’t let the youth run them. Middle school and high schoolers should be put in charge from start to finish, with the adults monitoring. Just like the Boy Scouts. The activities would be a lot more relevant to spiritual growth of the youth that way.


42 posted on 05/09/2012 9:19:10 AM PDT by gotribe
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To: marshmallow

Good youth ministry is invaluable. I don’t think the concept has failed. I figure individual churches fail at it at about the same rate as they fail at adult ministry.

I find nothing objectionable about teaching kids or youth differently than you’d teach adults. First of all, it takes the kids out so the adults can listen — rather than wrangling the kids (the reality of parenting). Second, kids are more restless, than adults — there are better ways to reach them than your standard adult sermon.

Third, if your church is doing what it should, there will occasionally be sermons that are less appropriate for small children to hear. Adults need to be taught adult theology, and adult problems need to be addressed ... and, sometimes, its best not to do that in front of the kids.

I attend the largest conservative Baptist congregation in the Country (as far as I am aware) — Second Baptist Church in Houston, TX. The children’s and youth ministry was part of what got us to try that particular church — and I wouldn’t trade the ministry my daughter is receiving for anything (my other two are a bit young to receive much ministry ... they receive babysitting).

SnakeDoc


43 posted on 05/09/2012 9:37:32 AM PDT by SnakeDoctor ("I've shot people I like more for less." -- Raylan Givens, Justified)
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To: buffaloguy

Clearly, Christ’s own earthly ministry would have been more effective if he just had a youth basketball program, alternative worship service on saturday nights, roller-skating parties, and pizza.

(insane sarcasm)

What you’ve been saying has completely removed the work of the Holy Spirit from effectual calling, salvation, and sanctification.

Leave it up to people? Leave it to programs? Have the right kids ministry and parents will come? Does this save people in 3rd-world countries? Did it save people in 1st-century Rome? Europe during the Renaissance? America during the great Awakening?

Charles Spurgeon should have just put on a goofy hat, gotten some puppets, and told a cute story about Noah?

Church does NOT need to be relevant to society. The gospel is the exact OPPOSITE of what society says people should want, so how can you “win them” by using the very means that destroys culture? Listen to this great Christian rock band! It’s just like what’s on the radio - only cleaner and about Jesus! Good grief, seriously?

The gospel is a scandal, it’s offensive to sinners - and can’t/won’t/shouldn’t be dressed up and made to look like something that it’s plainly not.

God, through his Spirit, calls sinners to repentance, regenerates sinful hearts, and causes them to walk in his ways - all of this, done through the faithful preaching of his word.

This whle notion that someone makes a profession of faith, attends the cool programs, falls away, then comes back in their 30’s is not a problem that needs to be fixed by better kids programs. It’s a problem of identifying false conversions. An emotional response to a sad song about God when the lights are low and the lasers are shining is not the same as God’s spirit regenerating the heart of a sinner. One lasts because it’s purposed by God, the other doesn’t because it’s purposed by man.


44 posted on 05/09/2012 9:52:10 AM PDT by ItsOurTimeNow (Can't afford a ticket back from Suffragette City)
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To: ItsOurTimeNow

The church must be engaged in society. To fail to do so is to step back from The Great Commission.

if you don’t like how we do it, do yours differently.


45 posted on 05/09/2012 10:07:58 AM PDT by buffaloguy (uab.)
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To: SnakeDoctor

word!


46 posted on 05/09/2012 10:12:19 AM PDT by buffaloguy (uab.)
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To: awelliott

I agree. Seen it to many times.

Also have seen a young youth pastor start dating the older high school girls. Tears apart a congregation when that happens.


47 posted on 05/09/2012 10:23:57 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: marshmallow

For those who are concerned about this issue, I recommend the following website:
National Center for Family Integrated Churches
http://www.ncfic.org/


48 posted on 05/09/2012 11:37:56 AM PDT by JHL
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To: buffaloguy

“Engaged” in society as far as preaching the gospel, in season and out, baptizing and discipling. Problem is, the church has confused “engaged” with “engrossed” and has attempted to mirror the very same society people need to be saved from! The doctrines of Regeneration, Sactification, and Piety have been replaced, to the church’s detriment.

We have program after program after program in the states, and aren’t seeing close the conversion statistics as 3rd-world/impoverished/communist nations are. Why is that? When they have to meet in caves and fields in China under fear of death, do you think they’re worried about whether or not the ‘Movie Nite Spectacular Spectacular’ is going to draw 200 kids or else the pastor has promised to kiss a pig?

Did the 1st-century church have a special gathering time on Saturday nights, complete with nature-painted backdrops and grilled ox in order to appeal to the Pagans?

Recall the day of Pentecost - the audience was in short called sinful murderers, the truth was spoken, and thousands were saved.

No bowling team or Kidz Karnival required.


49 posted on 05/09/2012 11:45:42 AM PDT by ItsOurTimeNow (Can't afford a ticket back from Suffragette City)
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To: ItsOurTimeNow

“We have program after program after program in the states, and aren’t seeing close the conversion statistics as 3rd-world/impoverished/communist nations are.”

Because many of those in 3rd world countries are nativist or from another religious group. When the hear the word of God they convert. It is very different than their native religions and the love and blessings that God showers on those who believe in His Son are very foreign to their existence. I am a financial partner for two evangelistic organizations that are very active in 3rd world countries and the Word is rapidly spreading. I also run my own that drills wells in Africa.

“Did the 1st-century church have a special gathering time on Saturday nights, complete with nature-painted backdrops and grilled ox in order to appeal to the Pagans?”

The early church had the practice of weekly eating together and if it was anything like our pot lucks, visitors were invited and welcome (I’m Southern Baptist and go to the same church as SnakeDoc. Southern Baptists eat together a lot.)

Every year we have a large (4-5000 people) barbecue at church and a lot of visitors come. Just one more out reach program.


50 posted on 05/09/2012 12:08:59 PM PDT by buffaloguy (uab.)
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