Sunday, March 11, 2007

Why we lose youth

Part of my new responsiblities will be coming up with something for the youth. We've attempted youth groups in the past but they've never worked out.

Knowing this I've been putting a ton of thought and prayer into what to do for our youth. We don't have that many and so it would be easy to proportionatley give them less time and effort. I'm not content with that because if you truly believe they are the "future of the church," then you can't short change them.

I think part of the problem is our youth don't know what it is truly like to walk with Jesus. That blame falls squarely on our shoulders. We bring in youth and tell them they have to listen Christian music and wear those stupid Christian t-shirts. But they look all around them and see people wearing crosses with an iPod full of Christian music and they see how these people truly live, and it turns them off.

Our youth don't need these things, they need Jesus. They need to be shown how to live with Jesus and that's it. If that means they still listen to hard rock, then fine let them listen to hard rock. The Bible says Jesus will change our hearts. Let him do it. All we need to do is demonstrate Jesus to them. No more, no less.

If I attacked your idol here (Christian music, t-shirts, other stupid stuff) then you'll have to get over it. I'm sick and tired of seeing Christians run around with these symbols of faith and not live it out. To some, that cross they wear around their neck is the extent of their faith, and that's just sad. If I see one more guy where a t-shirt about how great Jesus is and then refuse to love his wife like he should, I'm likely to punch him in the throat. Walking with Jesus has nothing to do with the fact that you've read all 1,500 Left Behind books. These things cannot stand in for a true walk with God and I think churches today are filled with people who allow that to happen.

I'm not saying these things in and of themselves are bad. I don't personally listen to much Christian music because I think it's pretty crappy. That doesn't mean it doesn't have it's place. Just be careful not to let these things stand in for God.

5 comments:

matt said...

i fully agree with you on most of what you have written. i've long been tempted to make a bumper sticker that says 'don't show me you're a christian by the jesus fish on your car; prove it by the way you live.' the christian marketing train has gone way too far off course (was it ever on course?).

on youth: what were to happen if you stopped believing that they are the 'future of the church' and started believing that they are an essential part of the church today?

just some thoughts... enjoying the blog.

Chad Wright said...

Matt,

Thanks for reading. I've caught a little flack for my views on "the Christian marketing train."

I'm not entirely against them. However, I'm tired of Christianity being boiled down to showing up to church on Sunday, putting a fish on your car, listening to the Christian music, not drinking beer and waiting until you die so Jesus can punch your golden ticket and you walk into Heaven.

It's all about our relationship with Jesus, and yet we make it all about these other things. It makes me nuts and I'm not going to have a hand in telling another generation that all that crap is what it takes when it's not.

For our youth I've decided on a twice a month meeting. We're not doing the "Six Flags" youth group. There won't be trips to theme parks or concerts. There won't be pizza parties. That's all well and good, but there are a million youth groups in America doing the same thing and most of those kids are as lost as can be.

We are going to sit down and have honest and real conversations about how we do life and walk with Jesus. We're going to talk about whether or not the Bible is still relevant today. I'm kicking off each week talking about my junk I face and what the Bible says about it and then let them discuss their problems and see what it says about that. I'm not going to cram anything down their throats. I'm just going to demonstrate to them in a very real way what it's like to walk with Jesus. I'm not going to cover up the hard or messy parts, because they need to see everything.

I'm pumped, and the few youth I've talked to have been really enthusiastic about it. I think just because it's something different for them. Imagine that, studying the Bible and talking about life being different.

And there will be not one "hip" Christian poster on the wall where we meet.

I really should have made this a post instead of a comment. I went long.

Chad Wright said...

By the way, I love your comment about not being the "future of the church."

I believe that with all my heart. Part of the first conversation I'm going to have with them is about how much I need them right now. We are making major changes in our church and without the younger crowd around to stir things up, it can't happen. I need these guys serving and living for Jesus TODAY.

matt said...

Imagine that, studying the Bible and talking about life being different.

no kidding. it's amazing how we try to make the Christian Life out to be this 24 hour amazingly fun experience to keep teens coming out to youth group. it's just a matter of time before they realize that, when it comes down to it, the Christian Life is just living life with a totally cool perspective. Boredom and monotony do exist in the adult Christian world. a dose of reality should go a long way...blessings in your new venture, and showing your youth what relationship with Christ is all about!

Chad Wright said...

We kick of the youth service on Tuesday the 10th. Pray for us all.

Thanks,
Chad