I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and though I don’t have time to go into depth, I would like to throw out a thought. Let me start with a couple of assertions:
- Christian American culture worships youth
- Christian American culture does not respect parents and elders
- Our attitude is in conflict with Scripture
Scripture has very little that is positive to say about being young.
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
(1 Corinthians 13:11)
It says quite the opposite about elders.
Thou shalt rise up before the hoary* head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.
(Leviticus 19:32) *hoary, white
The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
They ravished the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Judah. Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured. They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood.
I have sat in too many church services and heard messages preached about how young people shape the world, about how the young must stand up and lead, about how desirable it is to be young. In these services, the message that comes across to everyone else is, “Don’t you wish you were young again? But you’re not. Maybe you can still serve God by getting a young person saved so he can do great things. Unless you’re really old. Then you can just mumble humorously and play Bingo.”
My understanding of youth ministry is very straightforward. It’s found in Titus 2:
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
You minister to the young by telling them to be like adults, and you make sure that the adults are the leaders of your church. You preach that parents are to raise their children and to teach them the Word of God. And you don’t separate the children from their parents every single time you get the chance. In fact, you want the young people to be around the older people as much as possible.
What do you say? Have I gone crazy? I seriously want to know what you think.