Youth group madness

I was on Issues, Etc., yesterday. You can listen here. Somehow Todd Wilkens or Jeff Schwarz got ahold of a WORLD column I wrote way back in 2002. They seemed to think it is still relevant. Here it is:

Stupid church tricks

Many church youth groups are teaching young people exactly what they don’t need to learn | Gene Edward Veith

Four sets of parents are suing a church in Indiana for what happened at a New Year’s Eve lock-in. A youth leader chewed up a mixture of dog food, sardines, potted meat, sauerkraut, cottage cheese, and salsa, topped off with holiday eggnog. As if this spectacle were not disgusting enough (let the reader beware), he then spit out the mixture into a glass and encouraged the members of the youth group to drink it!

Some of those who did, of course, became sick, whereupon their parents sued the church. According to an Associated Press account, the youth pastor said that the “gross-out” game, called the Human Vegematic, was just for fun and that the church forced no one to participate. The lawsuit accused the adults in charge of pressuring 13- and 14-year-olds into activities that caused them physical and mental harm.

Such “gross-out” games have become a fad in youth ministry. Since adolescents are amused by bodily functions, crude behavior, and tastelessness—following the church-growth principle of giving people what they like as a way to entice them into the kingdom—many evangelical youth leaders think this is a way to reach young people.

The Source for Youth Ministry, a popular and widely used resource center, posts scores of games on its website, many of which were contributed by youth group leaders in the field.

There is Sanctuary Softball, which involves whacking a nerf ball in church, with home plate being the area of the altar, and running through the pews, as the fielders then try to hit the batter with the ball to make an out. Another fun activity is Seafood Catch, which involves putting minnows in the baptistry, then catching them by hand. (“Extra points for eating them after it is done.”)

Then there are games designed to appeal to adolescents’ hormones. These include kissing games like “Kiss the Wench.” “Leg Line Up” has girls feel boy’s legs to identify who is who. Some of them have odd homosexual subtexts, like “Pull Apart,” in which guys cling to each other, while girls try to pull them apart. Another has girls putting makeup on guys, leading to a drag beauty show. Then there is the embarrassingly Freudian “Baby Bottle Burp,” in which girls put a diaper (a towel) on a boy, then feed him a bottle of soda, and cradle him until he burps!

These are presented as just ordinary games, good ways to break the ice at youth group. But there is another category of “Sick and Twisted Games.” Many of these involve eating and drinking gross things, like at the Indiana church. (“Toothbrush Buffet” has youth group leaders brushing their teeth and spitting into a cup. Each then passes it along to the next in line, who uses what is in the cup to brush his teeth. The last one drinks down everyone’s spit.) Others are scatological, and are too repellent to describe.

What do teenagers learn from these youth group activities? Nothing of the Bible. Nothing of theology. Nothing of the cost of discipleship. But they do learn some lessons that they can carry with them the rest of their lives:

* Lose your inhibitions. Young people usually have inhibitions against doing anything too embarrassing or shameful. These exercises are designed to free people from such hangups. For some reason, post-Freudian psychologists—whose “sensitivity groups” are the model for these kinds of exercises—maintain that such inhibitions are bad. Christians, though, have always insisted that we need to feel inhibited about indulging in things for which we should feel ashamed. This is part of what we mean by developing a conscience.

Though being “gross” may not be sinful in itself, overcoming natural revulsions can only train a child to become uninhibited about more important things.

* Give in to peer pressure. Defenders of these kinds of activities maintain that they help create group unity. The way they work, though, is to overcome a teenager’s inhibitions with the greater desire to go along with the group. In other words, these exercises teach the teenager to give in to peer pressure. Instead, youth groups need to teach Christian teenagers not to go along with the crowd and to stand up against what their friends want them to do.

* Christianity is stupid. Status-conscious teenagers know that those who are so desperate to be liked that they will do anything to curry favor are impossible to respect. Young people may come to off-the-wall youth group meetings, but when they grow up, they will likely associate the church with other immature, juvenile phases of their lives, and Christianity will be something they will grow out of.

Teenagers get enough entertainment, psychology, and hedonism from their culture. They don’t need it from their church. What they need—and often yearn for—is God’s Word, catechesis, and spiritual formation.

via WORLD Magazine | Stupid church tricks | Gene Edward Veith | Aug 24, 02.

Am I right, or am I over-reacting?  What are your memories of church youth group?  Was it like this, or more helpful?  Did it help keep you in church and make you grow in your faith, or did it drive you away?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • The Jones

    We had random ice-breakers at our church, and some of them were dumb, but luckily none of them were this bad. And fortunately, they all actually led into talking about scripture and the gospel.

  • The Jones

    We had random ice-breakers at our church, and some of them were dumb, but luckily none of them were this bad. And fortunately, they all actually led into talking about scripture and the gospel.

  • http://philippians314.squarespace.com Kim in ON

    Our church allowed the student interns to take charge of a “Fear Factor” type of game that involved the kids touching animal organs and eating raw fish. I was very angry and when my husband and I raised our objections, we were given the “kids will be kids” line, but much of our concern was what you have written here, especially about teaching children to ignore their natural aversion to vulgarity.

    My husband and I are in charge of the youth group now, and we don’t play games like that. We limit our games to parlor type games and sports activities. Young people need to learn that unity among believers is not the same as peer pressure. It is about being unified about the meaning of the gospel, and biblical doctrine, not behaviour.

  • http://philippians314.squarespace.com Kim in ON

    Our church allowed the student interns to take charge of a “Fear Factor” type of game that involved the kids touching animal organs and eating raw fish. I was very angry and when my husband and I raised our objections, we were given the “kids will be kids” line, but much of our concern was what you have written here, especially about teaching children to ignore their natural aversion to vulgarity.

    My husband and I are in charge of the youth group now, and we don’t play games like that. We limit our games to parlor type games and sports activities. Young people need to learn that unity among believers is not the same as peer pressure. It is about being unified about the meaning of the gospel, and biblical doctrine, not behaviour.

  • Jedidiah Maschke

    After reading this, I’m actually feeling kind of ambivalent that I didn’t have much “youth group” involvement in high school. There’s an interesting contrast I remember…while these games were common in the lock-ins and retreats that I saw in college and as a camp counselor (I’m get nauseous thinking about the toothpaste one which I saw some of my fellow camp counselors act out once), I distinctly remember my friends in high school speaking excitedly about volunteering to help feed homeless people at a shelter.

    I think that part of it has to do with “youth ministers” and leaders who aren’t mature in their faith being put into positions where they are not supervised by those who are, and where the biggest payback they receive is getting some sort of visceral reaction out of young people to whom they are trying to minister. If we put immature people in positions of leadership (especially in the spiritual formation of young people in the church), it’s as Jesus said, “If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.”

    I also think it is important that we consider as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 14 what outsiders will think of our worship and how we present ourselves in light of our faith.

  • Jedidiah Maschke

    After reading this, I’m actually feeling kind of ambivalent that I didn’t have much “youth group” involvement in high school. There’s an interesting contrast I remember…while these games were common in the lock-ins and retreats that I saw in college and as a camp counselor (I’m get nauseous thinking about the toothpaste one which I saw some of my fellow camp counselors act out once), I distinctly remember my friends in high school speaking excitedly about volunteering to help feed homeless people at a shelter.

    I think that part of it has to do with “youth ministers” and leaders who aren’t mature in their faith being put into positions where they are not supervised by those who are, and where the biggest payback they receive is getting some sort of visceral reaction out of young people to whom they are trying to minister. If we put immature people in positions of leadership (especially in the spiritual formation of young people in the church), it’s as Jesus said, “If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.”

    I also think it is important that we consider as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 14 what outsiders will think of our worship and how we present ourselves in light of our faith.

  • http://www.mattbredmond.blogspot.com Matt Redmond

    I just left doing youth ministry less than a year ago. And while I refused anything of the sort, I was paid to leave because I wanted to move the young people in the opposite direction. Though the youth room was full of game systems and video games and televisions and couch’s and snacks, it was not enough they were able to show up early and play before Bible Study. These young people, on the cusp of adulthood were expected to play and be silly in lieu of Bible Study and prayer. I now teach a class at a classical school and the difference is all the world.

  • http://www.mattbredmond.blogspot.com Matt Redmond

    I just left doing youth ministry less than a year ago. And while I refused anything of the sort, I was paid to leave because I wanted to move the young people in the opposite direction. Though the youth room was full of game systems and video games and televisions and couch’s and snacks, it was not enough they were able to show up early and play before Bible Study. These young people, on the cusp of adulthood were expected to play and be silly in lieu of Bible Study and prayer. I now teach a class at a classical school and the difference is all the world.

  • Michael Z.

    I think it boils down to expectations. If we expect our youth to need dumb entertainment in order to keep their attention, then we will give them dumb entertainment. However, I think that the youth groups that are being villified are the exception, not the rule, and I would be careful about generalizing these kind of games to all Youth Groups.

  • Michael Z.

    I think it boils down to expectations. If we expect our youth to need dumb entertainment in order to keep their attention, then we will give them dumb entertainment. However, I think that the youth groups that are being villified are the exception, not the rule, and I would be careful about generalizing these kind of games to all Youth Groups.

  • Gregory

    Those ‘games’ you describe sound like something pagans would do in a church to insult the faith not honor it: altar soft ball? baptistry minnow bobbing (and etc)?

  • Gregory

    Those ‘games’ you describe sound like something pagans would do in a church to insult the faith not honor it: altar soft ball? baptistry minnow bobbing (and etc)?

  • Darren

    The games we played in my high school youth group were usually either physical (volleyball and capture the flag were favorites) or intellectual (Bible trivia and regular trivia). I don’t recall any sort of activities that would even come close to what you described in your article. Instead, I remember lots of what we called “positive peer pressure” – encouragement from both the adults leading and the youth themselves to stay pure and close to Christ.

    My youth group experience was almost without exception very positive and had a great impact on my faith. (The only exception I can think of is watching the “Thief in the Night” videos – gave me nightmares :) )

  • Darren

    The games we played in my high school youth group were usually either physical (volleyball and capture the flag were favorites) or intellectual (Bible trivia and regular trivia). I don’t recall any sort of activities that would even come close to what you described in your article. Instead, I remember lots of what we called “positive peer pressure” – encouragement from both the adults leading and the youth themselves to stay pure and close to Christ.

    My youth group experience was almost without exception very positive and had a great impact on my faith. (The only exception I can think of is watching the “Thief in the Night” videos – gave me nightmares :) )

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I am reminded of a scene from To Save A Life , where the youth pastor has the kids drink cokes through another guys sock and the main character jumps up and yells at them for being idiots while people around them are hurting and have questions. I wanted to cheer.

    There are youth that are sadly attracted to this kind of action just as there are people who are attracted to shock jocks. But there are also youth who are repulsed by this kind of thing and I don’t blame them. I do have my youth play silly games but nothing intentionally embarrassing or gross. These kids have enough to be worried about, they don’t need to worry about how pastor is going to embarrass them. On a practical note, physical games are useful if you have active high energy kids. It gives them a chance to get the energy out so they can settle down. I have had guys run around the building because they couldn’t sit still in confirmation.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I am reminded of a scene from To Save A Life , where the youth pastor has the kids drink cokes through another guys sock and the main character jumps up and yells at them for being idiots while people around them are hurting and have questions. I wanted to cheer.

    There are youth that are sadly attracted to this kind of action just as there are people who are attracted to shock jocks. But there are also youth who are repulsed by this kind of thing and I don’t blame them. I do have my youth play silly games but nothing intentionally embarrassing or gross. These kids have enough to be worried about, they don’t need to worry about how pastor is going to embarrass them. On a practical note, physical games are useful if you have active high energy kids. It gives them a chance to get the energy out so they can settle down. I have had guys run around the building because they couldn’t sit still in confirmation.

  • Orianna Laun

    Great job on Issues, Etc. yesterday, Dr. Veith. My memories of youth group did not have such ridiculousness, but vague silliness. That and we were mostly fundraising to get to the National Youth Gathering (NYG). That is, when people showed up. Funny, they only crawled out of the woodwork every 3 years to go the the NYG, which, by they way made me completely discontent with my own youth group. We had no kids (except every 3 years) and I was the one stuck with most fundraising tasks (“Hey we’re signed up to clean the church this week: I can’t get anybody, could you. . .?”). The circut youth would get together for volleyball and water slide parties, but no real Bible study was involved there. A prayer and a Scripture reading, maybe. The leaders of the circut youth actually did try, but who wants to drive 40 miles to the closest church for it?
    Funny, isn’t it, based on the comments from a previous post that we need our young people more than ever to be well catechised, able to cut through the post-modern bologna; yet we’ve done it to ourselves. Heck, I’ve seen the TV shows: the good undercover vice cop gets overtaken by the vice he’s been trying to curtail. You can’t be “more relevant” without being sucked in.

  • Orianna Laun

    Great job on Issues, Etc. yesterday, Dr. Veith. My memories of youth group did not have such ridiculousness, but vague silliness. That and we were mostly fundraising to get to the National Youth Gathering (NYG). That is, when people showed up. Funny, they only crawled out of the woodwork every 3 years to go the the NYG, which, by they way made me completely discontent with my own youth group. We had no kids (except every 3 years) and I was the one stuck with most fundraising tasks (“Hey we’re signed up to clean the church this week: I can’t get anybody, could you. . .?”). The circut youth would get together for volleyball and water slide parties, but no real Bible study was involved there. A prayer and a Scripture reading, maybe. The leaders of the circut youth actually did try, but who wants to drive 40 miles to the closest church for it?
    Funny, isn’t it, based on the comments from a previous post that we need our young people more than ever to be well catechised, able to cut through the post-modern bologna; yet we’ve done it to ourselves. Heck, I’ve seen the TV shows: the good undercover vice cop gets overtaken by the vice he’s been trying to curtail. You can’t be “more relevant” without being sucked in.

  • Tom Hering

    I remember a guy (this was about ten years ago) who was the youth group leader at a local RC church. One day, in a conversation with several people at a coffee shop, he stated his belief that the best place to have sex was the altar of the church, because it’s a sacred act.

    No point. Just another horror story.

  • Tom Hering

    I remember a guy (this was about ten years ago) who was the youth group leader at a local RC church. One day, in a conversation with several people at a coffee shop, he stated his belief that the best place to have sex was the altar of the church, because it’s a sacred act.

    No point. Just another horror story.

  • Brenda

    15 years ago our congregation became involved in Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ. It was wonderfully structured and as a driver for the monthly Weekends, I got to see it firsthand. Puppetry, dramas, music, but for the kids the canvassing of the areas designated by the local pastor were the goal for all of the kids.
    As far as I know, OAFC is still a RSO (Recognized Service Organization) of LCMS. Somewhat contraversial in Confessional circles, our four homeschooled kids learned, sang , traveled, grew in faith, learned to play guitar, learned to speak in public, met lifelong friends, but most important, they learned to share their faith in Christ. It was scripted, but before long they internalized it. As adults, three of the four are active in church.

    Our church didn’t attempt a youth program because so many of the kids were involved in OAFC.

  • Brenda

    15 years ago our congregation became involved in Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ. It was wonderfully structured and as a driver for the monthly Weekends, I got to see it firsthand. Puppetry, dramas, music, but for the kids the canvassing of the areas designated by the local pastor were the goal for all of the kids.
    As far as I know, OAFC is still a RSO (Recognized Service Organization) of LCMS. Somewhat contraversial in Confessional circles, our four homeschooled kids learned, sang , traveled, grew in faith, learned to play guitar, learned to speak in public, met lifelong friends, but most important, they learned to share their faith in Christ. It was scripted, but before long they internalized it. As adults, three of the four are active in church.

    Our church didn’t attempt a youth program because so many of the kids were involved in OAFC.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @11
    It is still a going concern. We have a sizable group who participate in OAFC. I’ll be honest the door to door stuff scares me to death so I never go, but I am thrilled about the kids who have gotten into it. One just recently went off to school to be a deaconess, so they are keeping up their track record of training future church workers.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @11
    It is still a going concern. We have a sizable group who participate in OAFC. I’ll be honest the door to door stuff scares me to death so I never go, but I am thrilled about the kids who have gotten into it. One just recently went off to school to be a deaconess, so they are keeping up their track record of training future church workers.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Nothing as gross as what our gracious host illustrates, but I’m pretty sure that our youth group did some pretty silly things. I remember going on a trip with them to Disneyworld (great spiritual lesson there about …um..nevermind), and while I was sleeping off some wooziness, someone in the group painted my fingernails hot pink. I was pretty glad that they hadn’t counted on that being the natural color under them, and that they didn’t choose red or something like that.

    Personally, I find (as the children’s church guy at my little church) that little ones can and do really get into learning the Word, though. I don’t know why you’d bother with sardines, unless….

    ….your passion really wasn’t the Word of God–shudder. I wouldn’t see that as a qualification for ministry, but…..

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Nothing as gross as what our gracious host illustrates, but I’m pretty sure that our youth group did some pretty silly things. I remember going on a trip with them to Disneyworld (great spiritual lesson there about …um..nevermind), and while I was sleeping off some wooziness, someone in the group painted my fingernails hot pink. I was pretty glad that they hadn’t counted on that being the natural color under them, and that they didn’t choose red or something like that.

    Personally, I find (as the children’s church guy at my little church) that little ones can and do really get into learning the Word, though. I don’t know why you’d bother with sardines, unless….

    ….your passion really wasn’t the Word of God–shudder. I wouldn’t see that as a qualification for ministry, but…..

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I attended a baptist church in high school because I could only go to church if I could get a ride. A catholic family lived next door. A baptist family lived two doors down. The baptists invited me and gave me a ride. So, that is where I went. There was no nonsense. There was fun. The first thing I was ever invited to do was to make snow cones for little kids in VBS. Mostly it was a straightforward Bible study on a Wednesday night that rotated among the homes of the teens. It was 30 minutes of snacks and fellowship and 1 hour of Bible study prepared by the associate pastor and one of the teens, but presented by the teen. We went on a mission trip to a town about 150 miles away which cost very little. We provided a VBS for poor kids in a park. We slept on the floor in the church basement and played board games for fun. The ladies of the church fixed all our meals. We did get a really fun day at the beach before leaving.

    I remember the focus was Bible study and service in the church. I remember being asked to occasionally substitute teach Sunday school.

    I have to say it was a great experience. I truly felt loved by everyone there. They were the most loving family any teen could ever hope for.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I attended a baptist church in high school because I could only go to church if I could get a ride. A catholic family lived next door. A baptist family lived two doors down. The baptists invited me and gave me a ride. So, that is where I went. There was no nonsense. There was fun. The first thing I was ever invited to do was to make snow cones for little kids in VBS. Mostly it was a straightforward Bible study on a Wednesday night that rotated among the homes of the teens. It was 30 minutes of snacks and fellowship and 1 hour of Bible study prepared by the associate pastor and one of the teens, but presented by the teen. We went on a mission trip to a town about 150 miles away which cost very little. We provided a VBS for poor kids in a park. We slept on the floor in the church basement and played board games for fun. The ladies of the church fixed all our meals. We did get a really fun day at the beach before leaving.

    I remember the focus was Bible study and service in the church. I remember being asked to occasionally substitute teach Sunday school.

    I have to say it was a great experience. I truly felt loved by everyone there. They were the most loving family any teen could ever hope for.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    You know, plenty of teens have a sense of their own personal dignity. They don’t want to feel uncomfortable. Too much silliness can turn off those who come and want nurturing in their faith. They may leave disgusted.

    What does a youth ministry to those seeking God look like?

    Is it vulgar and crass?

    Does that show respect for God or man?

    Does the youth ministry help youth face their own sinfulness and repent?

    What other questions should we ask?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    You know, plenty of teens have a sense of their own personal dignity. They don’t want to feel uncomfortable. Too much silliness can turn off those who come and want nurturing in their faith. They may leave disgusted.

    What does a youth ministry to those seeking God look like?

    Is it vulgar and crass?

    Does that show respect for God or man?

    Does the youth ministry help youth face their own sinfulness and repent?

    What other questions should we ask?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Reminds me of a new children’s worship song that we’ve heard about recently:

    I think I’m gonna throw up…
    I think I’m gonna hurl…

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Reminds me of a new children’s worship song that we’ve heard about recently:

    I think I’m gonna throw up…
    I think I’m gonna hurl…

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Is this what happens when people from the extended-childhood generation try to lead kids?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Is this what happens when people from the extended-childhood generation try to lead kids?

  • Tom Hering

    Larry Mc @ 18, I think anything questionable that happens anywhere in Christianity is fair game for ridicule by anyone – Lutheran or otherwise. Though it would be better if those doing the questionable things just “cut [castrate] themselves off” as the Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, so sharply and humorously wished in Galatians. :-O

  • Tom Hering

    Larry Mc @ 18, I think anything questionable that happens anywhere in Christianity is fair game for ridicule by anyone – Lutheran or otherwise. Though it would be better if those doing the questionable things just “cut [castrate] themselves off” as the Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, so sharply and humorously wished in Galatians. :-O

  • Kandyce

    I read this article and felt a bit of indictment. As a youth leader, I never personally led the type of gross-out games that you described, but I have seen some of them before in different settings. I did struggle continually with wanting kids to view youth group and church as “fun” and allowing them to dictate the activities of the day, and some were very foolish activities.
    I believe that Jed has a very valid point about having our youth groups led by immature Christians, both in faith and life. One prevailing idea in churches is that youth groups need to be led by young people because they can relate to the youth more easily. This idea is foolish in many ways. My relative youth as a youth leader was less an asset and more of the root of my difficulties in the job. It caused me personal struggle beyond belief and I believe that my immaturity harmed some if not all of the kids I worked with. I left youth work scarred because I entered unprepared. I praise God for His forgiveness and grace.

  • Kandyce

    I read this article and felt a bit of indictment. As a youth leader, I never personally led the type of gross-out games that you described, but I have seen some of them before in different settings. I did struggle continually with wanting kids to view youth group and church as “fun” and allowing them to dictate the activities of the day, and some were very foolish activities.
    I believe that Jed has a very valid point about having our youth groups led by immature Christians, both in faith and life. One prevailing idea in churches is that youth groups need to be led by young people because they can relate to the youth more easily. This idea is foolish in many ways. My relative youth as a youth leader was less an asset and more of the root of my difficulties in the job. It caused me personal struggle beyond belief and I believe that my immaturity harmed some if not all of the kids I worked with. I left youth work scarred because I entered unprepared. I praise God for His forgiveness and grace.

  • Andrew

    I have led youth for a number of years and while we may have done some similar things in the past they are not done any longer. Too often these games are meant, more than anything, to make the leaders seem cool to the youth and that is the real motivation there. Ultimately not only are these things stupid they are harmful in that they reverse the respect roles. The leaders look to the youth for respect? That is NOT the way it should be.

    Too often these activities are fueled by the notion of keeping youth interested and it is waaay too easy to cross the line with activities like that.

    As for baseball in the sanctuary and minnows in the Baptistry… wow… just wow… no matter what denomination you may be from I bet there are folks in each that would shudder at this. There is such a deliberate and wanton disregard for sacred space there and it is pretty nuts that not only would someone play it but that they would proudly boast it….

  • Andrew

    I have led youth for a number of years and while we may have done some similar things in the past they are not done any longer. Too often these games are meant, more than anything, to make the leaders seem cool to the youth and that is the real motivation there. Ultimately not only are these things stupid they are harmful in that they reverse the respect roles. The leaders look to the youth for respect? That is NOT the way it should be.

    Too often these activities are fueled by the notion of keeping youth interested and it is waaay too easy to cross the line with activities like that.

    As for baseball in the sanctuary and minnows in the Baptistry… wow… just wow… no matter what denomination you may be from I bet there are folks in each that would shudder at this. There is such a deliberate and wanton disregard for sacred space there and it is pretty nuts that not only would someone play it but that they would proudly boast it….

  • Wayne Almlie

    I can remember only a few times we played some mixer type games, tame compaired to what was described here. Most of the time we studied the Bible. But then this was back in the 60s and very early 70s in a church that could be described as Haugean.

  • Wayne Almlie

    I can remember only a few times we played some mixer type games, tame compaired to what was described here. Most of the time we studied the Bible. But then this was back in the 60s and very early 70s in a church that could be described as Haugean.

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  • http://prayeramedic.com Dan

    I know the church where that happened, it’s wacky. They are about 15 minutes from my house.

  • http://prayeramedic.com Dan

    I know the church where that happened, it’s wacky. They are about 15 minutes from my house.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Then there is the embarrassingly Freudian “Baby Bottle Burp,” in which girls put a diaper (a towel) on a boy, then feed him a bottle of soda, and cradle him until he burps!

    I’m still twitching from just reading that. Google “Babyfurs” sometime to see what associations that sentence paged up in my mind, and trust me, you do NOT want that kind of linkage!

    I remember a guy (this was about ten years ago) who was the youth group leader at a local RC church. One day, in a conversation with several people at a coffee shop, he stated his belief that the best place to have sex was the altar of the church, because it’s a sacred act. — Tom Hering

    Refresh me on this, but wasn’t “screwing atop the altar” the main event at the classic Satanic Black Mass?

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Then there is the embarrassingly Freudian “Baby Bottle Burp,” in which girls put a diaper (a towel) on a boy, then feed him a bottle of soda, and cradle him until he burps!

    I’m still twitching from just reading that. Google “Babyfurs” sometime to see what associations that sentence paged up in my mind, and trust me, you do NOT want that kind of linkage!

    I remember a guy (this was about ten years ago) who was the youth group leader at a local RC church. One day, in a conversation with several people at a coffee shop, he stated his belief that the best place to have sex was the altar of the church, because it’s a sacred act. — Tom Hering

    Refresh me on this, but wasn’t “screwing atop the altar” the main event at the classic Satanic Black Mass?

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