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Youth Groups Driving Christian Teens to Abandon Faith

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Author Topic: Youth Groups Driving Christian Teens to Abandon Faith  (Read 298 times)
Mark
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« on: October 23, 2013, 06:23:36 am »

Youth Groups Driving Christian Teens to Abandon Faith

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 today's 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 it's 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 today's believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not even biblical.

After answering three questions at YouthGroupSurvey.com, each survey participant received NCFIC Director Scott Brown's e-book entitled Weed in the Church: How A Culture of Age Segregation Is Destroying the Younger Generation, Fragmenting the Family and Harming Church as well as access to a 50-minute-long documentary entitled Divided: Is Modern Youth Ministry Multiplying or Dividing the Church? (Divided has been viewed by 200,000 people.)

The survey is still active online through Friday, Nov. 8.

Adam McManus, a spokesman for NCFIC, is not surprised by the church's deep concerns about youth groups.

"Today's 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. It's 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.

"Proverbs 13:20 says, 'He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.' The result is that the youth stumble, they can't see beyond their noses, and spiritual adolescence is prolonged well into adulthood. It's crippling the body of Christ. That's why it's time to return to the biblical paradigm and throw out the youth group structure entirely."

He continues, "I am greatly encouraged by the results of our survey. American Christians are finally waking up to the disconnect between the clear teaching in Scripture in favor of family-integration and the modern-day church's obsession with dividing the family at every turn. Age segregation, especially during the tender and impactful teenage years, not only hasn't worked, it's been detrimental. Even worse, it is contrary to the Bible. But the good news is that practices in the churches related to youth groups are changing dramatically. Twenty years ago no one was even asking this question."

McManus cited the following Scriptures to document his contention that it's God's will for the church to embrace the biblical model of families staying together in the service as the Word of God is preached: Deuteronomy 16:9-14, Joshua 8:34-35, Ezra 10:1, 2 Chronicles 20:13, Nehemiah 12:43 and Joel 2:15-16.

"Our fervent prayer is that God will raise up Spirit-filled, Bible-preaching, Christ-centered, family-integrated assemblies from the ashes of our man-centered, family-fragmenting churches," McManus adds. "Plus, the church needs to begin to equip Christian fathers to communicate the gospel to their families. Today, Christian parents are beginning to realize that they have not fulfilled their spiritual duties by simply dropping off their kiddos to Sunday school and youth group, allowing other parents to disciple their children by proxy.

"Let's not forget the powerful words spoken by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-7: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.'

"It is the parents' primary obligation to disciple their own children, impressing God's commandments upon them in the home on a daily basis."

Cameron Cole, youth director at Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Ala., says, "There is a propensity in our culture to outsource the development of our children. For intellectual development, we send them to school. For athletic development, we send them to Little League. And for spiritual formation, we send them to youth group. The church has done a poor job of communicating to the parents that they are the primary disciplers of their children. Parents don't believe this, but the reality is that kids listen to their parents far more than they're going to listen to a youth minister."

"It's time for the Christian father to take the central role which God has ordained," McManus concludes. "Gathered around the dining room table, the father needs to lead family worship once again, which had been standard behavior for a vibrant American Christian family for hundreds of years, dating back to the Plymouth, Mass., colony of 1620. Dad needs to read from and discuss the Bible, sing Christian songs and pray with his family, his little flock over which God has appointed him shepherd. Frankly, I'm not as concerned about what happens in Sunday school in church as I am with what happens in 'Monday school' and 'Tuesday school' at home with the family."

http://www.charismanews.com/us/41465-youth-groups-driving-christian-teens-to-abandon-faith?utm
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2013, 12:56:42 pm »

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"Our fervent prayer is that God will raise up Spirit-filled, Bible-preaching, Christ-centered, family-integrated assemblies from the ashes of our man-centered, family-fragmenting churches," McManus adds. "Plus, the church needs to begin to equip Christian fathers to communicate the gospel to their families. Today, Christian parents are beginning to realize that they have not fulfilled their spiritual duties by simply dropping off their kiddos to Sunday school and youth group, allowing other parents to disciple their children by proxy.

And this has been going on since I was a young boy in the late 70's - I briefly went to a Sunday School where buses would go around neighborhoods to pick of kids who wanted to go. Yes, it was ONLY the CHILDREN. It was as if they were playing their part of this war on the family agenda by giving the parents the shaft.

And there were a couple of churches in the 80's whose Sunday Schools I attended that were just that - low in biblical teaching and high in secular/entertainment stuff. It wasn't as bad as it is now, but pretty bad nonetheless(ie-once in awhile, we would watch films like preventing suicide, rebellious teens, etc which may have had decent messages, but did NOT include any biblical messages). Ultimately, rarely do you cross paths with any of these Sunday School "teachers" that knew their bibles - one time I was concerned about my salvation and approached one, and he just gave me a blank look like I was crazy. Another time in church summer camp, one elderly counselor talked about how we needed to read library books regularly, but NOT ONCE did he mention the bible.

Also - another big difference is that most youth group teachers are young 20 year olds and millenials. Again, not trying to belittle millenials(we have a couple of them here that are sound in the faith and the KJB), but nonetheless they're bringing in the modern-day pop culture into these youth groups. 30 years ago, they were largely adults/baby boomers who at least somewhat held to traditional views(they weren't sound either, but just saying).

Quote
"It's time for the Christian father to take the central role which God has ordained," McManus concludes. "Gathered around the dining room table, the father needs to lead family worship once again, which had been standard behavior for a vibrant American Christian family for hundreds of years, dating back to the Plymouth, Mass., colony of 1620. Dad needs to read from and discuss the Bible, sing Christian songs and pray with his family, his little flock over which God has appointed him shepherd. Frankly, I'm not as concerned about what happens in Sunday school in church as I am with what happens in 'Monday school' and 'Tuesday school' at home with the family."

Yeah - you look at the typical church pews nowdays, hate to say it, but the majority of them seem to be women - largely b/c either their husbands are working overtime to help bring their families the "American Dream", or they are divorced single mothers. My mom noticed that 10 years ago when we were watching a Charles Stanley service. And this is very bad b/c all it's doing is bringing on more temptations for the pastors, deacons, and other male church leaderships.

Ultimately, it seems like especially since this "American Dream" deception came out in the 80's, the role of the husbands/fathers have been drastically changed.
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2013, 01:40:42 pm »

Also, a couple of more things...

1) Yeah, I felt that way too when I was in these "youth groups" - most of our attention was on each other, and not on anyone else(the elders). It was really nothing more than another secular youth social gathering - like the Boy Scouts, extracurricular activities at school, hanging out at the high school football game, etc. This is why when we went off to college, everything just FELT different in a much different atmosphere.

2) Another reason why I feel these "youth groups" fall away later in life is b/c of the double standard going on within these churches(at least from my experiences) - for example, this whole "Judge not lest ye be judged..." is completely warped on them. When they see the pastors and deacons getting out of line, this is where they are conditioned to keep their mouths quiet. Ultimately, even these youths can FEEL when these church leaderships are out of line, but en yet they themselves are taught to be held accountable, while these pastors and deacons can't be "judged". From my own experiences - I've had pastors who would run around to other non-related church activities during the week(flying around the country, hanging around with other pagan religious leaders, etc), pretty much ignoring the flock. While other pastors and deacons would act coldly to some of their pew members.

3) This whole Republicanism deception - ultimately, even the youth could see the wickedness of Bush Jr and Cheney during their 8 years(even more so than the Clintons) with their lying, murderings, etc - but en yet anyone who didn't blindly follow Bush/Cheney were seen as baby-killers and sodomites. Honestly, I'm not surprised over millenialls being Obama supporters now.
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