Divided: A Youth Pastor’s Perspective

Hello TWOG readers.  Just in case you were wondering if my role here was more of an honorary or emeritus position, I actually do plan on posting occasionally.

You should know that, while I am a youth pastor, I don’t plan on having all or even most of my posts related to the subject of youth ministry.  Something recently came up, however, that I thought might be a nice introductory post.

I had the opportunity to view Divided, a somewhat controversial new movie about youth ministry produced by the National Center For Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC) and directed by the Leclerc brothers.  You can actually watch it free online for a limited time.  The premise of the entire film is that “modern youth ministry is contrary to Scripture,” but really, the film goes way, way beyond that.  I’ll explain below.

It’s important to point out in the beginning, however, that this isn’t a new argument.  The idea that youth ministry is not only unfounded Scripturally but opposed to the Bible has been argued ad nauseam.  At the same time, however, I am deeply troubled by how youth ministry has been done in many contexts in America, so when a proponent of the Family Integrated Church (FIC) movement writes a book, I’m in the habit of reading it.  I have always found voices like Voddie Baucham to be incredibly helpful.  This is why I was eager to watch the film.

So what about this movie? As someone who not only has a youth ministry major but also has been a youth pastor for the past five years in the Twin Cities area, am I now convinced that my college major and ministry position are somehow deeply unbiblical? That I have wasted not only my four years of undergrad work, but my previous five years as a youth pastor?  Not hardly.  I’ll tell you why.

A Fun Movie to Watch

First of all, let me say that in many respects, Divided was a fun movie to watch.  The Leclerc brothers are obviously very talented filmmakers, and their eye for cinematography makes the film not only engaging, but, dare I say, entertaining (which itself is ironic, considering that using entertainment and “worldly tactics” to get students interested in what you’re saying is a method that the movie lambastes, but I digress).

I also agreed fully with many of the ideas presented in the movie: the mandate for men in the church to raise up and disciple their families; the family being the primary place where discipleship of children/adolescence takes place; the need to get away from program based ministry and engage more intentionally in an organic, and at times even integrated, model of church; the destructiveness of entertainment-based youth ministry and the wrongheaded tendency of teaching in youth ministry to be based on the lowest common denominator.  All of these are major themes in the movie and I whole-heartedly agree with them.

A False Dichotomy

But here’s the problem.  Why does any church, anywhere, need to choose between actively discipling the parents in the church and having additional supplements and outlets for the training and equipping of young men and women?  In other words, I’m not saying that the FIC understanding of church is wrong.  Far from it. As a youth pastor I often find myself resonating with the FIC model, and refreshed by authors and writers who advocate for the primary role of the family in the discipleship of students.  However, the Leclerc brothers and the NCFIC make it sound as though any age specific model that any church has ever offered is contrary to the Scriptures and therefore offensive to God—that it has been influenced by Darwin and paganism but not the Bible.  This is unquestionably the point of the entire film.  This assertion, however, is not only untrue, but a false dichotomy.

We don’t need to choose between the primary role of discipleship that the family plays in the lives of students and a ministry that teaches, preaches, and lives out the gospel specifically with students.  A church can (and sometimes even should) do both.  That is to say that the church should always be raising up fathers to disciple their families primarily. But sometimes, and depending on the context, the church should spend at least some time building specifically into young people with the gospel.

One of the ways the film sets up this false dichotomy is arguing two points throughout, and these points can, at times, seem utterly contradictory.  For instance, one individual taking the FIC point of view on youth ministry argues that the reason that youth ministry in the church is dangerous is because it keeps youth from having many fathers, many grandfathers, and many brothers and sisters in the family of God (and I agree that this is a danger, incidentally).

But the very next person interviewed says that the reason youth ministry is dangerous is because it turns the hearts of the youth away from their fathers and toward many different people in the church—such as youth pastors, adult youth workers, and peers.  But which is it?  We need some clarity here.  Are they saying that youth can and should have many fathers, grandfathers, mothers, grandmothers, and brothers and sisters (mentors and peers) in Christ, but none of those people are a threat to turning hearts away from fathers unless that person is a youth worker?  If so, what specifically about a “youth worker” makes him or her dangerous in turning hearts away from fathers in comparison to others in the church?  Something seems strange here.

I would suggest that the reason they sound contradictory is that they’re setting up a false dichotomy.  Why can’t it be both?  Why can’t a child have their hearts turned in a positive, loving, respectful way to both their parents and their pastors?  After all, even if youth ministry is non-existent in the church, children and students in the church are still going to have pastors and pastoral authority.  And the Scriptures still command everyone in the church to submit to their pastors.  So what do we do with that?

Do we really want our students not to have positive, loving, growing, engaging, respectful, and equipping relationships with their pastors for fear that it will turn their hearts from their fathers?  Is it really an either/or situation?  Or is the idea for children to have both a healthy relationship with the pastor/elder role in the church and have a deep relationship and love for their parents, who have the primary role of discipleship?  In other words, I don’t understand why students can’t be influenced in a meaningful way by a pastor without that relationship threatening the family.  But this is exactly how the movie portrays the student/youth pastor relationship.

Actually, this is only one of many false dichotomies presented in this movie.  According to this film, you probably cannot both have age-specific classes and be a biblical church, believe in an old earth and have a high view of Scripture, or attend a rock concert and be committed to teaching against worldliness. And the list goes on.

A False Representation

If you have seen the film, at this point you might be saying, “okay, but Jeremy, didn’t you watch the movie?  Both sides were presented and the FIC model clearly won out.”  My answer to this is that yes, I did watch the movie, and both sides were presented in the same way that both sides are presented in a Michael Moore film, such as Bowling in Columbine or Fahrenheit 9/11.  You have to be cautious when viewing any documentary, because they obviously are crafting an argument.  Granted, it’s more beneficial when a film says at the outset that they are crafting an argument rather than stating that the filmmaker is simply a person “on a journey” who is looking for answers, but we have to expect this when viewing documentaries.

The producers of this film were obviously very careful with who they selected for interviewing and equally as careful in the editing process. Straw men are easy to knock down, and the NCFIC create their share of straw men in this film.

Are there problems with the way many churches do youth ministry?  Absolutely.  Does that mean that all modern youth ministries are the same?  No.  Does it mean that there is only one biblical model of ministering to youth and family?  Absolutely not.

Tim Challies, who wrote a review of the film a couple of weeks ago, is absolutely correct when he says that “there are many conservative, biblical Christians who reject FIC and I am sure it would not have been difficult to interview a couple of them.”  So why didn’t they?  If it is true, as they claim, that nobody is able to make a reasonable argument from Scripture for youth ministry, why not simply interview some people who reject the FIC model? The reality is that if biblically faithful pastors like John Piper, Tim Keller, and Josh Moody, to name only a few, all have churches that from time to time use age specific models as a supplement to family discipleship, it is uncharitable not to let them explain why they think this is biblical before charging them with sowing “pagan seeds.”  It’s one thing to question the timeliness of certain methods for today.  It’s another thing entirely to assume that these men do not have any biblical grounding for the way they do ministry.

This misrepresentation is actually the most disappointing part of the entire film, as Challies Explains.

“Perhaps my biggest disappointment with the film, then, is it lumps all non-integrated churches together.  Those that have Wednesday evening classes for children end up in the same category as churches that have entire Sunday morning services geared specifically to entertaining the teenagers.  Churches that have an evening set aside for youth fellowship end up in the same category as churches that build their whole youth ministry around partying and Christian rock.  This is not only uncharitable, but also utterly ridiculous.  According to the subtle suggestions of this documentary, even the best youth programs are utterly unbiblical and will cause most of the young people to fall away from the faith.  That is complete and utter nonsense.”

Challies has put his finger on the fundamental problem with this film.  It is this misrepresentation that robs it of its credibility and therefore decreases its effectiveness.  This is heartbreaking and unfortunate, as the movie has so many great things to say—but it was completely avoidable.

A Few Remaining Problems

There are actually several other key problems with the film itself, such as (1) the statistic upon which the entire movie is based (the claim that roughly 70 percent of churched students will walk away from their faith in college), (2) the remarkably absurd claim that the movie actually devotes considerable time to that youth ministry is founded on paganism, and (3) the unconvincing attempts to make the FIC model of doing ministry a biblical mandate for every church.

For further thoughts on the trouble with this statistic, I would suggest an article by Kevin DeYoung entitled Beware the Over-Hyped Stat, where he actually calls this statistic of 70 percent of young adults leaving the church “a classic example of a good statistic gone bad.”  Tim Challies also writes an excellent piece on this stat entitled I Am Unalarmed, where he states that “far fewer than this number abandon the church when they have been raised in homes and churches that treasure and model and celebrate the gospel.”  Christian Smith, professor of sociology at Notre Dame, offers a general warning in his article entitled Evangelicals Behaving Badly With Statistics, where he claims that statistics in the church are commonly abused by individuals who “are usually trying desperately to attract attention and raise people’s concern in order to mobilize resources and action for some cause.”  While I am certainly not attempting to make light of this problem, we would be wise to heed DeYoung’s warning and “beware the over-hyped stat” that is at the core of the film.

For further thoughts on the biblical nature and history of age specific ministry, I would suggest the book Four Views on Youth Ministry and the Church, edited by my seminary advisor, Mark Senter.  It not only contains an FIC argument, but three others also, and these authors charitably and directly interact with one another in the book, leaving the reader in the end to realize that no ministry model is perfect. The reality is that the ministry model that works in our context in New Hope might not be the right model for a church in Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, New York City, or anywhere else.

Final Thoughts

So overall, this movie presented two extremes: Entertainment based youth ministries that exist primarily to give students a fun experience, and family integrated churches that believe age specific ministries to be completely unbiblical.  My position would have to be somewhere in the middle.

On the one hand, entertainment driven youth ministry is destroying the spiritual life of students in America.  There have been numerous articles written from youth pastors on this topic.  As Christian Smith and Kenda Creasy Dean have noted well, students in our generation don’t hold to the gospel as much as they do a moralistic, therapeutic deism.  The hard reality is that we do need to continue to head toward a better way of doing youth ministry that expects more of students.  As Mark Driscoll notes in his book, The Radical Reformission, “the American concept of adolescence excuses immaturity among young people and welcomes rebellion and folly as rites of passage.  In our kingdom culture, young people are identified not as adolescents but rather as Christians of whom Christian living is expected.”

Youth ministries need to give students the truth—the gospel of Jesus Christ—as the gospel is not only what brings them into the kingdom, but what brings them transformation.  If I only have three years with students, I’m going to spend those three years relentlessly teaching the gospel.  And we certainly need to recognize the role of the family.  The family is the primary discipleship force in the lives of students, which is why we have ministries at our church that are designed to come behind the family in this role and to train up men to take on the leadership of their home.

I also completely understand when churches see the need in their context to not have an active youth ministry.  Youth ministry can become dangerously over-programmed to the point where the mission force of the church is stripped from their community because they’re always at church. This is one of the reasons why I think FIC is one among many models that is seeing real fruit and benefit for the kingdom of God.

On the other hand, I think that describing the FIC approach as the only biblical model is uncharitable and disingenuous.  Paul’s words have to be pretty strained in Ephesians and Colossians to somehow make them mandates for family integration in all situations. The reality is that we need to have many different models of family ministries in order to figure out what will be most effective in different contexts.

But that could be (and probably should be) another post altogether.  The bottom line is that while Divided offers some great thoughts about ministry, it may actually cause needless division—more division, actually, than the age specific ministries they are challenging.  So, while it could be great to watch this movie (there are so many great challenges throughout the film, especially in the last few moments), I’d suggest that you do so cautiously.  Normally I’d advise viewing a movie like this with a grain of salt.  For this movie, though, I’d bring the whole shaker.

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10 thoughts on “Divided: A Youth Pastor’s Perspective”

  1. Wow great review, thanks for the resources Jeremy.
    That line “on a journey for answers” reminded me BBC documents about inerrancy of the Bible. When a journalist went on a journey to find if Bible contains errors and is written by Authors it claims to be written. He would always interview scholars with very liberal view and low view of scripture and one guy he interviewed that hold high view was a failed Boxer without any degree…

    I think its not easy to say that entertainment-based youth ministry is what causing students to lose faith (if they even have it in a first place) and its the reason why 70% are “ex-christians” (if there is such a thing)..maybe Gospel being preached would cause even bigger loss of “christians” and even bigger division for America 🙂

    why do you think there is always this idea that we are shifting from some Church Golden Age?

  2. Thanks Jeremy, great post. I haven’t viewed the film but your description sounds like what I have heard from other sources. As in any ministry, balance is key. In my youth group years I attended a very small, rural church so the youth did not have a separate Sunday am or pm program. We did, however, have a separate weekly Bible study group and took annual trips for missions, sight seeing and college visiting. I benefitted greatly from interacting on a regular basis with the “adults” in the church but also having focused time with my peers (and youth leadership).

    We are one year away from having two kids in the jr high ministry at NHC and look forward to having them be a part of that group but also keeping them involved in the “big picture” of the church.

  3. Jeremy,

    I would agree with Greg (above). . . your review is one of the most charitable I have seen and instead of throwing out red herrings and building up your own straw men or saying “well, I think. . . ” (like most of the other UN-charitable reviews I’ve read from those who disagree) it sounds like you, at least, are willing to have an actual discussion and debate with real arguments and facts and not just with inflamed rhetoric and emotionalism. So, thank you!

    That being said, I must say that my husband (who was a youth pastor for 10 years – and NOT a “fun and games only” youth pastor!) and I would have probably argued these very same things just years ago, but find ourselves in the place where we are realizing that we may have been wrong. It seems that our thinking is being reformed in many areas and I agree with you that voices like Vauddie Baucham have been invaluable in that area. Scott Brown, I truly believe is also a very godly man who has many good things to point out in areas that Christians have become almost blind to recently.

    I HIGHLY suggest and recommend reading “A Weed in the Church” EVEN if (and maybe especially if) you disagree with some of the conclusions in “Divided.” This book goes MUCH more into the biblical arguments and reasoning behind some of what “Divided” only briefly glances over. Also, even though it is primarily focused in on age-segregated ministry, I found this book to be invaluable in continuing to reform my thinking to be more biblical in ALL areas of my life – in causing me to continue to ask questions like, “am I thinking biblically?” or “Is how I am living really what the Word calls me to?”

    Anyways, just some thoughts. Thanks again for a helpful (even though dissenting) review rather than a hurtful, harmful one!

    1. Jen,

      Thanks for your kind comments. I’ve enjoyed reading through your story on your blog. My wife and I are currently in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. It’s thrilling to see how God is using your family as a real life demonstration of the gospel.

      I agree that there have been some rather uncharitable reviews of the movie, which is unfortunate, but I also believe them to be a reflection of a very uncharitable film. I guess in a way this sort of summarizes one of my main problems with the NCFIC. Remember, the first person that speaks is always the one that sets the tone for the conversation. Now, it doesn’t mean that the second person that speaks is cleared of all responsibility to respond charitably, but the tone has been set nonetheless. And Divided sets an incredibly uncharitable tone.

      I haven’t read Scott Brown’s book, but let’s just look at the title. Weed in the Church (clearly referring to age specific ministry), is also an extremely uncharitable way of framing the discussion (I’m noticing a pattern here…). Do you see my objection? When the title of a book is tantamount to name calling (“Your ministry is a weed”—whether that’s what’s intended or not, that’s how it comes across), it’s not a great start in setting the tone for a charitable discussion. Honestly, this tone and behavior is what really concerns me, and it is unfortunately proving to be commonplace in Scott Brown’s ministry these days. He needs to display some restraint with the way he frames his arguments.

      Seriously, I would love to see a thoughtful, biblical, charitable conversation about this. I’d love to see Scott Brown sit down in a public gathering with someone like D.A. Carson (whom he doesn’t mind quoting on his blog), Tim Keller, John Piper, Josh Moody, Mark Dever, or Al Mohler, considering all of them either attend churches or pastor churches that have opted for a “weed in the church” type of ministry, and all of them are leading evangelical intellectuals. I’d love to hear honest, biblical dialogue and disagreements here. It’s worth noting, however, that none of these men oppose what Scott Brown is doing with family integration. The NCFIC and Scott Brown actively oppose what these men are doing.

      I’m genuinely excited for the journey that you and your husband are on in regards to family discipleship and I have no doubt that this is God at work in your lives and ministry. I love churches that catch a family integration vision. Far be it from me to say otherwise. In all honesty, I may find myself on a similar journey someday, because the FIC model is compelling and helpful. My concern, however, is that the NCFIC wants to make it the only biblical journey. That way danger lies.

      Thanks for hearing me.

      Jeremy

      1. How awesome that you are adopting from Ethiopia. We have many good friends who have adopted from Ethiopia and who work with different missions organizations in Ethiopia (and also in Uganda and Sudan). When you are ready to travel, I would suggest looking up Providence Guest House/Heavenly Hope Ministries if you want a safe yet affordable place to stay near Addis – and also good contact info while you are there!

        Adoption has been an amazing journey and has taught us so many things (if you have read the “Adoption Lessons” posts on my blog, you will see what I mean.) In a way, adopting children from hard places has impressed on us, even more, the need to have a very strong family culture and to watchfully and carefully protect and shelter our children from peer and worldly influences before their hearts are tied to ours, to the Lord, and they trust. It has been a long, learning journey for us that we are still traveling but we are AMAZED at how God has brought healing and redemption into our children’s lives and has continued to refine us!

        I think it is really very interesting to talk with you about this because I totally hear what you are saying about the tone, but when my husband and I watched the movie and read the book, we didn’t hear that tone at all. seriously. I find it weird that some people watch the film and hear a judgemental harsh tone but others (myself included) just hear a desperate call to consider the cost and to look more closely at what is going on. Granted, both my husband and I have gifts of prophecy and exhortation and we often are sensing, seeing, and calling people to live in a more biblical way AND we are “early adopters.” I’m sure this must have some bearing on how we “hear” the message being said.

        I believe others that they hear it differently, but I sincerely believe that is not the way Scott Brown or the Leclerc’s meant it to sound. One reason I believe this is because of the book’s tone and the other is because I watched the TLN interview with Scott Brown (available online) and it was not Mr. Brown, but rather the interviewers who were OBVIOUSLY having a bad attitude and who were unwilling to engage in ACTUAL conversation and debate about the issues. Brown willingly and graciously (with a humble spirit) tried to engage in a real discussion, tried to answer their questions, and posed questions himself – ones that I would really like to hear answered – but the interviewers basically just kept saying, “WELL, I just think you are nuts and don’t agree because I don’t like what you are saying.”

        SIGH. THAT isn’t helpful at all. I don’t care what the TLN host “THINKS.” I really want to hear biblical scholars, trusted spiritual leaders have a REAL discussion and ANSWER each other’s real questions rather than just throw illogical arguments out there or make accusatory statements.

        So, I guess it sounds like we’d both like to see the same thing. I think it would be GREAT to see Brown sit down with Piper or Mohler or someone of the sort and really talk. MAYBE that is what they will do at the ReUnited Conference?

        It GREATLY pains me that the D6 conference blacklisted the NCFIC from even being there. I mean, really, it is a conference to discuss the problems in youth discipleship and they won’t let this idea even up to the table for discussion? Or, CT not letting them advertise? come on. If you are going to allow for articles about the positive side of the Harry Potter books (and it is FINE to have that discussion), why are you not also willing to include the idea that MAYBE youth ministry isn’t really a great thing. . . do you see what I mean? Not that they shouldn’t discuss whether reading about witches, wizards, and magic is biblical and good, but they should also be willing to put out the ideas of Divided for discussion too.

        I totally could be wrong about all of this. None of us has it all figured out. Not Scott Brown, not Randall House, not John Piper, and not the many enraged 20 something youth pastors. . . BUT, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try as much as we can to live biblically. . . and I THINK that is what the heart behind this is.

        Hope to get to know you and your wife better. We’d love to hear more about your adoption journey!

    2. Jen,

      That’s for sure exciting to read more about your journey of stepping out by faith in a big way through all of the adoption in your family. What a gospel story. My wife Amy and I have both been very influenced by Russell Moore’s book, Adopted For Life. We just want to get it into everyone’s hands. We just finished our home study yesterday, actually, and we’re now jumping into the dossier. Yikes. 🙂 Thanks so much for the tips on Ethiopia. We’ll for sure look them up.

      It’s interesting that you didn’t hear any negative tone when you watched it. I for sure gave the movie the benefit of the doubt. I’m also gifted in a prophetic way (as opposed to kingly or priestly), but that has also taught me a lot personally in my journey of the importance of setting a charitable tone. This is, incidentally, why I’ve really appreciated Voddie Baucham so much as a youth pastor. I don’t agree with all of Baucham’s exegesis–my primary concern is that, just like with Scott Brown, he lacks discipline when it comes to not making Scripture say what it’s actually not saying. That’s a very real temptation for people who have an agenda that they want to push, but it’s unfortunately one that they both fall into headlong. However, unlike Brown, Baucham has always framed his discussion by highlighting the positives of what he believes and can absolutely prove with Scripture. The titles of the two books couldn’t be a better illustration of the point. His book is entitled “Family Driven Faith,” and while he talks about his views of youth ministry, the thrust of the book is, well, about a faith that is driven by the family (thus the title). Brown’s book, “Weed in the Church,” is framed from a negative perspective, and he seems to be defining himself by what he’s against. That’s what concerns me. This isn’t the way toward charitable discussion.

      As it relates to the D6 conference and CT, maybe we’re being a little hard on them. I mean, sure, if they are blacklisting the NCFIC from being there because they just don’t want to talk about the FIC perspective, of course that’s wrong. I’d agree with that. But are you sure that’s why the NCFIC is blacklisted from these organizations? And I don’t know the D6 guys so I don’t have a horse in this race, but for what it’s worth, if I was in charge of a youth ministry conference, I wouldn’t invite the NCFIC. Don’t get me wrong–I’d still include people who promote the FIC perspective (which I personally love)–such as the two people who were the heroes of the movie Divided, Chuck Bomar and Derwin Grey, who both strongly promoted the FIC model that they are both using, while being enormously charitable toward other perspectives. The reason that I wouldn’t include the NCFIC at this point is because, as a conference leader, I would have a responsibility to avoid foolish controversies, such as whether or not youth ministry has been founded by Plato. 🙂 Seriously, these guys have a responsibility to protect the tone of their conference, and if they think that the NCFIC lacks some restraint with Scott Brown at the helm (which is not completely unreasonable), it truly is their responsibility to tell him not to come. This is simply the job of any conference organizer. For instance, I would tell Ken Ham not to come to a conference on different views of creationism if I was organizing one, not because I don’t think that there are smart and substantive young earth seven day creation guys out there, but because of the tone that Ham in particular uses in all of his publications. He has a track record that is unbelievably undisciplined. It’s ironic that Ham was the first person on the screen in Divided. That Ken Ham and Scott Brown run in the same circles does not surprise me in the least.

      Anyways, this is an interesting discussion. I look forward to continue to hear about what God is doing in your lives. Blessings.

      Jeremy

    3. Hey Jen. Came across this article today and thought you might find it interesting based on our discussion of why the D6 conference leaders have banned the NCFIC.

      “Organizers of the D6 Conference maintained that their decision to not give a display booth to the group behind “Divided” was made based on the non-inclusive nature of the film, not the viewpoint of its producers…Leaders of the D6 Conference, which starts in Dallas Wednesday, said the film does not fit the event ‘created for sharing conversations about various biblical methods.'”

      D6’s response here was interesting to me particularly as this was how the NCFIC responded to a question of mine regarding methods a couple of weeks ago:

      “God’s methods are timeless. Because he has spoken clearly regarding discipleship in both the Old and New Testaments (Deut. 6, Ps. 78, Proverbs, Ps. 127, Eph. 6:1-4), He does not ask us to come up with our own methods for discipleship, which in the case of youth ministry, for all practical purposes has replaced His primary method of family discipleship.”

      In other words, “methods aren’t up for discussion.” So if the D6 guys have created a conference that’s all about discussing methods, and the stance of the NCFIC is that methods aren’t up for discussion, it seems like they’re correct in saying that the film does not fit an event “created for sharing conversations about various biblical methods.” If this is what the conference is about and the NCFIC doesn’t believe in various methods, why would they want to go?

      Anyways, thought you might find that interesting.

      Hope you guys are doing well. All 12 of you (that’s SO cool). 🙂

  4. Hey Jeremy, I agree with everyone else. A balanced review with very good points. I too agree that there is much the church needs to improve on and the call for parental involvement in the lives of their youth is one of them, but that doesn’t mean that all age/life integration ministries are wrong. Thanks. Good job.

  5. Jeremy,

    This was an excellent review, balanced and objective. So many times it is difficult to look at articles and documentaries through the lens of logic. Because regardless of the statement of unbiased reporting of “truth”. Our bias will pervade what we write or preach. We all need to be reminded that none of us have the market on truth, because truth is not an it Truth is a person. Jesus is the truth and anything less than Jesus is less than truth. Yet, I press on toward the mark and the day that I will no longer look through the glass darkly but see him face to face. Youth ministry has a bittersweet place in my heart. I can relate to the authenticness if you will of the Church to young people. Christian rock music has led me to worship as much if not more than some of the hymns. It all comes down to relationship with your kids. I have three daughters 17,14,9 years old respectively. I would never leave them to be pastored by anyone by their daddy and I . That responsibility is ours. Now that said, the leaders of the church fellowship have supporting roles, in their walk. But training is done along the way as we walk and play and work always pointing back to Jesus and the word. Parents have been fed a lie that they are I’ll equipped to train their own children unless they have been to seminary. Really? If you have a relationship with the Lord and willingness to continually lay self on the alter to be consumed, the rewards are great. I pray for the unity of the body of Christ. Instead of pointing fingers at the methods and whose bait catches the most fish. Just fish people! Reconcile the World to God. The methods are what saves you anyway. The only way to the Father is through Jesus Christ and only by the drawing of the Holy Spirit. The one who saves is able to keep those who are being saved. Amen
    Blessing to you and your family. in Christ alone I stand.
    Sheri Tomancik

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