There is a panic in some parts of the church over the mass exodus of young people. 20s and 30s are one of the hottest demographics, and niche market churches are targeting them to bring them back into the flock. Sparing no expense and pulling out all the stops, church plants are springing in every color, shape, form and fashion designed to lure this demographic back into to the kingdom. It has spawned a whole new epoch of churches — house churches, biker churches, churches targeting only men. But maybe the kids have good reason for leaving. Maybe youth ministry as it has been conceived, marketed, packaged, and sold to churches, youth ministers, and DCE’s over the last half century has actually failed them. That is what a new documentary suggests, according to the Christian Post:
A group of pastors and former youth ministry leaders suggest that today’s youth ministries should be disbanded, calling the common practice of separating congregations by age for worship and Bible study “unbiblical.”
The church leaders state their case in the documentary film, “Divided: Is Age-Segregated Ministry Multiplying or Dividing the Church?”
The film is produced by the National Center for Family Integrated Churches in association with LeClerc Brothers Motion Pictures. The producers released the documentary earlier this month online, and have made it available for free until Sept. 15.
Before we pursue every new fad or experimental church method or model, before we throw more programs and gimmicks at our young people, maybe we need to take a long hard look at why they are leaving the church. Continue reading “Modern Youth Ministry a ’50-Year Failed Experiment,’ Say Pastors, Christian News”
Under the theme of “Coram Deo” (“before God” in Latin), all three conferences with nearly identical programs are being planned for high-school students, although any confirmed young person may attend. College students also may register and apply to serve as “Christ on Campus Volunteers” to help conference staff during a conference.
An LCMS Recognized Service Organization, Higher Things holds annual youth conferences and “assists parents, congregations and pastors in cultivating and promoting a Lutheran identity among youth,” according to a news release about the 2011 conferences. Running Tuesday through Friday afternoons, all three conference programs will include multiple worship services, teaching sessions and leisure activities.
“Our all-inclusive conferences are very reasonably priced for groups to attend annually, and they provide a great opportunity for youth to learn more about what Christ’s death on the cross means for them while meeting other Lutherans their age from all over the United States and beyond,” said Higher Things Conference Coordinator Sandra Ostapowich.
Rev. William Cwirla of Hacienda Heights, Calif., one of two plenary teachers for the 2011 conferences, explained the “Coram Deo” theme. “Under the law, life before God is terrifying,” Cwirla said. “But under the Gospel, life before God is beautiful, a restoration of what God intended when He made man in the beginning.”
Conferences and gatherings are a great part of our youth’s life and experience. They are great opportunities for parents and youth leaders as well to get to know their children and their generation better. The more of these opportunities that are available with Higher Things and other youth organizations, the more opportunities our kids have to grow in their faith. And in the subjective, my experience only is what counts, and it’s only true if I find it to be true world in which we live today, our kids need these opportunities to see that the truth of our existence lies in the person and work of Jesus Christ, not in man. Read the full article here. The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod – Higher Things plans three 2011 youth conferences.