The youth of a people is the future of a people. This is true of every single people group in the world. This means that to shape our youth is to shape the future. Now the question: how do we, as Christians, do this? This article is in response to an article posted by James Smetanin in defense of youth groups. I don’t think that’s a responsible solution to the question posed.
Reasons I am against youth groups
- Historically speaking, they have been tremendously ineffective in shaping our youth responsibly.
- There is no biblical warrant for them.
We’ll begin with number one. Youth groups have been ineffective in producing thinking, believing Christians. Why is this the case? I believe this is the case for a couple reasons. Firstly, as a whole, churches in the West do not appoint qualified individuals to lead our youth to a correct knowledge of the Scriptures. This isn’t the case in every church but is most certainly the case of most. Secondly, the youth run the show. What I mean is that the youth that are supposed to be learning are instead making decisions for the group. When an immature group begins making decisions for themselves, largely without guidance, trouble ensues. Because there is no strong leadership, the kids themselves take leadership roles. This could be corrected with a strong youth leader, but we aren’t discussing a single group, rather we are debating the viability of the practice of having them.
The Western church is experiencing attrition the likes of which the world has never seen. I would say this is because of not only the weak preaching we have from the pulpit, but also the practices we are teaching our children in youth groups. If you want to see the numbers, go here.
Secondly, there is absolutely no biblical example, command, or warrant for youth groups. The Scriptures are laid out in such a way that responsibility falls to the parent for their own child’s spiritual well-being. The parents are watched over by their Pastors. This form of government helps keep everything in order and provides the added bonus of making sure you aren’t teaching your child heresy. To advocate youth groups is to, either directly or indirectly, advocate for the redistribution of responsibility in watching over the spiritual life of a child. Because there is no biblical warrant for youth groups, they cannot be reformed by the Bible. Because they cannot be reformed by the Bible, they ought to be done away with. Soli Deo Gloria!