Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I have only heard of the DVD Divided.  I have not read it but only a few reviews.  From what I can tell, the author has a very good point.  Churches are losing their children to the world because they are always separated from their parents and not integrated with all generations, learning wisdom from the elders.

I don't completely disagree with this, but I am a youth pastor, so I don't completely agree with this either.  I do agree that youth pastors and church educators drop the ball all the time when it comes to teaching children about the Bible.  I've been to way too many youth group meetings where the group played games the whole time and the Bible was not opened once.  This is why Georgia is filled with so many people who call themselves Christians but have no clue what that means. 

Mostly, however, the problem with our children comes when we consider the words of Deuteronomy 6:4-9. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

One, we aren't teaching them to love the Lord with everything they got.  We're not teaching them to love God more than their boyfriend, their best friend, their girlfriend, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, their iPod, their sleeping, their pizza, etc.  So many things take priority over God during the week that it's no wonder they get distracted.  Not only are we not teaching them now to love God first, but we aren't teaching them how to love him the other six days of the week.  One day, they are in church learning about God from people who grew up with cliches and warm fuzzies.  5 days, they are in school with teachers that say you can't talk about Jesus or that evolution has been proved true.  Saturday they're doing homework, reinforcing the world's message.  Sunday, they're back in church and even the people there are saying God really created in 6 ages, not days, and that he probably used evolution to create man, now let's play Uno and learn how to get along with each other.  Not that there isn't a time and place for fun and games.  I plan on taking our kids to the local corn maze again real soon.  When I teach, however, the center activity of my youth group is the Bible: reading and teaching it.

Two, we're not training the parents how to teach their children at home.  Parents aren't talking about God at dinner, in the car on the way to soccer practice, or posting posters on their wall, their foreheads or their doorposts.  We need to remember, that not all people can afford seminary, but all people need to know theology and definitions of Christianity.  Children listen to their parents more than any person on earth, so the parents need to be the ones enforcing church doctrine at home.  They need to read from the Bible, discuss it at dinner, and the youth pastor should be there to answer questions and guide them in the process.

Now, we come to some obstacles.  I have three kids who live with their mom most of the time who is not a Christian.  I have other kids who have neither parents in church.  How do I coach their parents?  I do pray for them.  That's the most effective thing.  This week, for my 12-year-old, I sent her home with a notebook full of Scripture readings related to our lesson this week.  I also gave her the lesson for next week since she only comes when she's with her dad who is a devout Christian, who she only sees every other weekend.  She also has more readings and questions for that lesson.  She seemed really excited about the book.  Maybe she'll share what she reads with her siblings and her mom.  Who knows?  I know the Lord is in control.  I still haven't figured out the whole factor for my other kids.  One kid brought her whole family who are now very active and bringing other kids.  And that kid was brought by a girl who came with her grandfather once.  Kids can be powerful evangelists.

Also, you need to have church on a level that the children can understand.  I never appreciated sermons until the end of seminary when I understood that the preacher preached from the Word and that was how souls were awakened to receive the Gospel.  You have to give the children church on their level.  Many do not sit still and will simply fall asleep, especially in this ADD culture.  You still need to read the Word and teach the basics, but give them pictures to color.  Have them act out the story.  Give them present-day scenarios. 

Also, we return to kids who haven't grown up in church.  So many make the mistake of assuming that they already know about creation, the Fall, the Flood, Babel, Abraham, etc.  They don't.  They can't read our minds.  We have to teach them the basics, which is why we need Sunday School for all ages that teach the basics on their age level, whether age 2 or 22. 

Already Gone by Ken Ham is a good book to read that has the same idea as Divided but is more willing to simply change Sunday School, not eliminate it.  I'd recommend all people read it.  It's already changed how I do ministry, at least in my youth newsletter.  I now list my lessons in the newsletter so that parents can enforce them while at home.  We'll see what happens from there.

1 comment:

  1. I need to make the time to watch Divided. I've witnessed some youth group horror stories. But I've also witnessed some godly discipling between adults and teens.

    I agree with you about training parents. Any change has to begin in the home first, because the responsibility is squarely on our shoulders.