“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Youth Ministry

Its that time of year again -- the time when the 'Red and Black Attack is Back', speaking of the local high school football team. Seeing these signs everywhere reminds me again of my concern for the youth of our nation. Now you may be asking yourself what would concern me about high school football? Well, it is NOT high school football that disturbs me, it is the overarching emphasis that every parent in our town, and many others, place on sports, or activities of some type.

I often wonder how much time parents spend on coaching football, putting together band parties, ensuring that their children's soccer team has adequate and cutting edge equipment, and how little time they generally spend catechizing their children.

I am not addressing this from the outside, I was a youth pastor for many years, and would often have young people dumped at my feet with their parents muttering something like -- "Can you teach our son/daughter about God? They really don't seem to be interested in the faith" All the while the parents have completely neglected the training up of their children in things of eternal weight, and have taught, by example, that almost everything else is more important that Biblical disciplines. Then it becomes my job to take this pagan youth in their caterpillar stage and work with them so they emerge at 18 in their Christian butterfly stage.

Why do parents think they are somehow capable of coaching football, but incapable of teaching the Word of God? Just because some guy watches a lot of football on TV DOES NOT qualify him to be a coach -- so why does he think he is qualified? Yet, leading the children in Bible study, teaching them about prayer and leading, by example, in Godly living, is something every Christian parent SHOULD be able to do, yet few do it, or even feel qualified to do it.

Why is that? Well, I believe that coaching a sport, or holding band parties is much more rewarding, not only to the child, but to the parent -- it fills a need, parents can live vicariously through their children. Or maybe it is the status of being a coach that appeals to the man or woman who can stand on the sidelines, clipboard in hand, daydreaming about their day in the sun. Sadly, most of these parents are good, Christian people -- they will spend their last dime on a function, but will not sit down with their children for fifteen minutes in the evening to lead them in God's Word.

And they pass this on to their children. I know in many homes that the TV comes on immediately when someone walks in the door, but the Bible sits on a shelf unopened until Sunday when the parent dusts it off, and dutifully carries it to church.

Let me ask you -- Do parents REALLY understand how they are to love their children if they spend more time teaching them Pee-Wee football, and neglect their role in the spiritual life of their children? Which one of these activities will last into eternity?

Let me close by saying this:

1. I am not against organized sports -- I am against the idolizing of it

2. I blame pastors as much as I do parents for the declension of the youth. Pastors, including youth pastors, have intimated to parents that they are not qualified to teach their own children, and it is best left to the 'professionals'

3. I also blame youth sport leagues which schedule games on Sundays now, so parents will miss church to ensure that their young one can compete in a little league game -- this sets the priorities for the children for life oftentimes.

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