To all of those who work with youth and teenagers:
When your version of Christianity devolves into nothing more than prohibitions against rated R movies, secular music, and teenage dating, you really may want to reexamine the Gospel that you are preaching. When I was a teenager and attended various youth camps and youth conferences, it truly seemed as though the speakers only aim was to get teenagers to break up with their boyfriends and girlfriends, and to stop masturbating and looking at pornography. Those were the only things that really seemed to matter, as, apparently, those are things which God detests more than any other (sarcasm intended).
However, I watched such messages destroy lives all around me. Perhaps a middle aged man pretending to understand youth culture has forgotten, but puberty and the teenage years are not very kind to a person’s body. There are thoughts, feelings and emotions coursing through young people’s souls that are beyond their control, which they are far more frustrated with than any disgruntled youth pastor is. They are doing everything in their power in order to live a “life pleasing to God”, but must every week face a person who’s only goal seems to be to make them weep their way to the altar so that he can later brag about the “awesome presence of God” in the youth service that night.
I’ve been there, and I’ve done that myself, and trust me, it does not do anyone any good!
Our youth don’t need to be beat over the head with all of the things that they are doing wrong. They do not need 10,000 messages on how secular music is evil, and how lustful thoughts will send them to hell. They need a Gospel that assures them of their Father’s love, even in the midst of the internal chaos they are experiencing. The emotionally fragile creature that is the teenager does not need to be manipulated through fear and spiritual bullying tactics, they need to know and to experience the embrace of the Godhead! They do not need to be weekly berated for not being world changers, they need to be rooted and grounded in their identity as sons and daughters of God!
Enough with all of the pseudo radical youth services and messages! Away with every message that places burdens on an already over burdened generation! The “Rah Rah Rah – Change the world” culture has run its course, and the world is still not changed! We’ve condemned kids into action, only to lose them in their college years for far too long. It’s time to raise a generation to know the burning love, and unconditional acceptance of a God who is not counting their sins against them!
-A post of mine from 2013
NOTE: Isn’t this all too familiar with all of us who grew up in the historic Worldwide Church of God???