One of the things we hear a lot is this: "What do you guys do for youth group?"
Searching the scripture, we see nothing about "youth group". A friend of mine once quipped, "The only youth group I see in the Bible got eaten by bears". Of course, the commandments of Deuteronomy 6 apply here. Catechize, Catechize, Catechize.
But what about youth get-togethers, youth bands, youth groups, etc, etc. Aren't there supposed to be youth ministers, and youth specialists, teen groups, tween groups, etc.
Really, all we are doing is creating an entire sub-group of human sponges who are perpetually adolescent. As the Church of God, we should take responsibility for it. We are to blame for Jersey Shore, Real World, and people living off of their parents until they are over 30. We started it by erecting "Youth Group". We do not expect that our children are capable of receiving instruction, maturing in the faith and becoming responsible adults. Instead, we created a new spot for them in the church - not quite children, and not quite adults. Then we brought in bands, really cool preachers with soul patches who say nothing and expect nothing, who teach our children that they are the center of the universe, just like they thought. Then we called it "Youth Group" and congratulated ourselves in our â€śoutreachâ€ť. It never occurred to us that our young people have no idea how â€śaccepting Jesus into their heartsâ€ť can free them from the bondage of sin, misery, shame and guilt. We just turned the music up loud and hoped that they wouldnâ€™t notice. What our youth actually need is the same thing that we all need: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They desperately need the â€śfaith once for all delivered to the saintsâ€ť, not the sound-bite theology of the modern church. This faith is beautifully summarized in the Heidelberg Catechism, which was written for this very purpose.
Biblically, the purpose of youth is to get out of it as soon as possible. Instead of enabling them to become permanent adolescents perhaps we should teach them to become the people God expects them to be.
Looking at Deuteronomy 15:11, Psalm 82:3-4, and James 1:27, it struck me that the church would look a whole lot different if the young people visited the sick, assisted the elderly in lawn-mowing and yard care, cleaned the houses of the infirm, visited the shut ins and the lonely, and looked to assist the body of Christ in whatever ways they could find. Sometimes it is just spending an afternoon playing scrabble with someone who lives alone. Perhaps they could help a widow cut back the brush in the yard, or assist with shopping. There are so many needs in every church.
The deacons oversee this, but too often we expect them to do it all. The officers of the church can never fulfill every need. Instead of training our young to be leaches, we would be better served teaching them that they are forever members of the body and bride of Jesus. We confess the communion of the saints; we should teach the youth what this means.
The advantage is apparent. First, it is honoring the commands of Christ (See Matt. 25:32-46). Service to the least of His people is service to Him. Second, God crowns his gifts. When we are faithful in a few things, God will make us faithful in many. Third, what better way to prepare our youth for a life of service than this? By training our youth to â€średeem the timeâ€ť (that is, to use time wisely for the advantage and welfare of the body of Christ), we are at the same time preparing them to take on the responsibilities of life and marriage.
Here, here. Well said. I remember the nightmare experience of the typical youth group when I was in high school and I have watched the youth of my previous church turn into those 30 year old adolescents.