Saturday, October 23, 2010


This was part of a Q & A regarding a new book "Ex-Christian"

Has the church played a role in causing this (people de-converting from Christianity) trend? If so, how can it stem the tide?

Over the past couple decades the focus in youth ministry has shifted from spiritual growth to attracting large numbers of kids and keeping them entertained. This move has had some ugly unintended consequences. Today many youth ministries are practically devoid of any spiritual engagement. Some have been reduced to using violent video game parties to lure students through their church doors on Friday nights. Church researcher Ed Stetzer describes most youth groups as "holding tanks with pizza." There's nothing wrong with video games and pizza, but they're tragic replacements for discipleship and catechism. Many young people have been exposed to a superficial form of Christianity that effectively inoculates them against authentic faith. To stem the tide of young people leaving, I believe churches need to shift the emphasis back to religious education and spiritual growth.


Scott said...

"holding tanks for pizza" :) so true!!

I don't think discipleship and catechism work that well either, as the decline in mainline/catholic membership would seem to suggest.

I think students need something practical. Get them to spend lunch hour befriending kids at the "losers" table. Show them how to nonviolently engage/forgive bullies. Get them to realize they DON'T need the latest smartphone/video-game/jeans. Help them confront others with compassion and love rather than judgement and self-righteousness.

aaron said...


good stuff. Yeah, I've read some stuff lately on churches actually blowing up their youth group and making the youth pastor basically a "small group" pastor for a bunch of different youth small groups That way all of the students are in the main services, no competition. . but they're still getting peer time and personal care in student small groups.

At any rate, the point is. . .you can't JUST be attractional and not be teaching kids the basics of the faith (I think the way you do catechesis is huge). There has to be meat, or kids will just hang out for 3 years and then go be a buddhist/anarchist/panantheist in college