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ChurchCulture & ArtOpinion

The Problem with Youth-Focused Churches

Today it is difficult to find teenagers, or even twenty-somethings, that are strongly connected to a church fellowship that does not have an established youth or college group. I would say that, beside myself, I only know about three people under the age of 25 that regularly attend a church that lacks any kind of younger gang. Having said that, I have attended many youth groups in my area just to see what it is that I have been missing; the church I became a Christian at has been my home for the past six years and it has never had a youth ministry.

What one finds is so appalling that only those who have grown up in it and have become accustomed to it can be copacetic with the nonsense the majority of these leaders are spewing. During youth sermons I have seen pastors use YouTube videos of people falling just for laughs, comparisons to how the narrow path of Christ is much like a wing-eating contest, and of course … how can one overlook the worship leader with the backstreet voice?

As a dude in my early twenties who accepted Christ at the age of 16, I am greatly offended at the sight of these 30-year old pastors who dress like they’re 13, as well as the sound of radio pop worship songs which repeat the same chorus millions of times. Do tell, youth pastor, would you be taken seriously at a regular job if you were wearing that Avril Lavigne tie and your hair looking like Robert Smith from The Cure? Because I definitely don’t.

These youth groups do not serve much more of a purpose than to remind kids to keep from masturbating and to read their Bible every Wednesday, or however often these youngsters congregate. In the process, most of church youth today has become the most apathetic and empty-minded band of dullards one can encounter. With no vision, no determination, and absolutely no clue of the state of our country or the church, they go off to college as expected, only to close their mind on the first doctrine their sandal-wearing professor throws at them. Meanwhile, their pastors back at home are scratching their heads as to why these kids have fallen off the Jesus wagon.

I think I speak for all youth out there that parties, drinking, having sex, and drugs are far more fun than the gathering of Jesus weirdoes two days out of every week … if your mind is not grounded on a Christ-centered worldview. I have seen far too many pastors cater to what they think the youth would enjoy, while completely missing what the youth really desire and need: answers to life.

The young hipsters who are obviously not grounded on Christ are looking for proof, while the youth that considers themselves saved (still hipsters though) spend the majority of their time forming cliques. They only talk, eat, and pray with each other and rarely will you get a word from them unless they are trying to save you from some inconsequential junk that they think is sinful; or they need a favor.

My advice to those young Christians out there who are hoping to become men and women who advance the kingdom of God is to find leadership that respects you as the teenager or young adult that you are. It seems to me that God certainly does; read the book of Timothy and tell yourself you weren’t made for greater things than being an unemployed student who somehow found time to master the first 100 Call Of Duty levels.

You know, in the Bible, they would crown some kings as early as the age of seven. Today, you will never see a seven year old in the regular church crowd because they have a special ministry for them where they make the truth slightly more palatable through watercolor and ice cream sticks.

Find pastors that have families and have led these families in the way you would like to lead yours one day. Pastors that don’t dress like they are on an episode of Jersey Shore and don’t spend the majority of their sermon trying to talk about how cool the new Batman movie was. Be led by men and women who have taken great spoils from Satan’s kingdom and maybe, just maybe, you will find yourself standing firm on Christ while the rest of your youth group buddies are becoming hippies, druggies, and militant democrats.

Andres Ortiz

Andres Ortiz is the founder of The Saving, a ministry that plays heavy music with heavier Christian content. His new album "David Star", based on the life of David, comes out March 9th, 2014. Follow @andresaving on twitter.

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