On Sunday my niece told me that at her Methodist church, they’re planning to do away with Sunday school for kids during the regular church service. I was really surprised that they had something for kids to do while the service was going on. When I was growing up in this church in the 1970s, kids were present for the main service. As an adult, I’ve either been Roman Catholic or Orthodox, and there’s never been any question in either church but that children must be present for the liturgy. I didn’t know that any church did it any other way. I was ignorant.
Turns out that there are strong second thoughts among Protestants about an approach to youth ministry that treats young people as separate from the adult congregation. A new documentary — available for free viewing online here — claims that “youth ministry” has been a disaster. Excerpt from a Christian Post story about it:
“Divided” follows “edgy twenty-something” Christian filmmaker Philip LeClerc on a quest to find answers to why his generation is increasingly turning away from attending church. Recent surveys have shown that as many as 85 percent of young people will leave the church and many never return.
NCFIC Director Scott T. Brown told The Christian Post that today’s modern concept of youth ministry is a “50-year failed experiment.” Brown said that when he was a church leader in the ’70s and ’80s he could have been the “poster boy” for the youth ministry movement in California. However, he said he now feels that dividing children from adults at church is an unbiblical concept borrowed from humanistic philosophies.
“The church has become divided generationally,” Brown said. “It’s not doing what Scripture prescribes and is actually doing something foreign to Scripture by dividing people by age or by life stage.”
I know nothing about this topic, but it sounds fascinating. If you do, talk about what you’ve seen, and what you think about it.