David Fitch: Youth Ministry Destroys Faith

David Fitch has an important post on modern youth ministry and it’s disastrous effects.  Money Quote:

I think youth groups often do things that work against the formation of our youth into life with Christ and His Mission. They also soak up huge time and resources in ways that are a detriment to the community life of the church. I think it would be good for parents seeking churches to think through these issues.

Prototype youth groups are built on the worst of modernist assumptions concerning the way human beings develop as cultural beings. They play into the worse impulses of parents who don’t get what is happening right before their very eyes when their children start to take on the moral formation of the ubiquitous culture at large. (Parents want young hip experts to save their kids – UH THAT DON’T WORK!!). They think the answer is to somehow get their children to a place where the youth culture attracts them and somehow makes Christianity attractive to their age group. All these things, I argue, work against the child growing up into a vital and real relationship with the living God and what He has done in Christ for the world.

via Reclaiming the Mission » “Youth Groups Destroy Children’s Lives”.

Do yourself a favor and read the rest of the post.

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  • That was a great post. Thanks for the link.

  • Jim

    Great link Tony, thanks. I’ll have to think on this. I was raised in a youth ministry that, in some respects, served me very well. But I wonder how things would have looked with a more integrated form of worship and community.

  • Kurt

    Unfortunately hyperbole used for shock value and attention grabbing usually has one of two consequences….neither of which seem very good:

    1) tactic/statement works and gets people all fired up about something that is actually not even a real issue. Ex: “Obama-care will include death panels!”

    2) tactic/statement is viewed as so over-the-top and obvious attention grab, that an important issue is dismissed because it isn’t presented in a genuine manner.

    Are liberals open to learning anything from Sean Hannity? Are conservatives open to learning anything from Keith Olberman? The answer is no, and the reason is, at least partly, because of their shock-value, hyperbole-filled strategy.

    Many of those who think the modern church and modern youth ministry suck are applauding articles like this, while many of those who are comfortable with the status quo or afraid of change disregard it from the get-go because of the lack of integrity from the start.

    and dialogue about a crucial topic… and maybe the kind of progress
    we all hope for…is the loser.

  • Dave


  • I often reflect upon my time in youth group just as damaging as my time sitting in the pews listening to fundamentalists rant. Glad we’re rethinking this, hope it actually goes somewhere.

  • Dan Ra

    This applies much more to white American evangelical/mainline youth groups. I’m Korean-American and grew up in Korean churches in my youth. Although Korean youth groups have a lot of issues, it’s a saving grace for a lot of Korean-American kids who otherwise feel out of place in majority culture.