Many Christians have made a very good living and gained peer admiration for their youth work. Now, they are in a panic as they see all their work going down the drain. Youth, they say, are leaving the Church in droves.
That is why I have altered the title to "leaving the churches". Why? Because NO YOUTH are leaving the Church of Christ. They are, however, leaving local churches in large numbers.
I have never accepted a need for a separate youth work. Nor a separate approach with the Gospel. The Gospel is all-embracing and there is no need to think youth require a special approach. To put it frankly, youth have been treated like intellectual morons and church-fodder. It is a fallacy to say that the youth are the future Church. They are not. The future Church is in the hands of God, not us; it is eternal and eternally founded, not reliant on young people filling places left by older members!
When I was saved in the 1960s I dutifully attended what was known as the Young People's Fellowship (YPF), a common institution throughout churchianity. But, I was restless, because I did not find spiritual growth there, only a weird youth-led fun-fun-fun, which I loathed. There was nothing substantial in the meetings. Even in the matter of singing I asked for hymns whilst my peers only wanted inane choruses. It says it all, when I was referred to scornfully as 'The Bible Says', because I wanted something more than superficiality and an imposed refusal not to grow up spiritually.
Today, youth 'ministry' is anything but. It is just a glittering ball with strobe lights and loud rock music. Yes, some of the songs have biblical content, but it is still delivered on waves of satanic rhythms.
Youth move on. They are allowed – and encouraged – to follow the herd, to listen to garbage called rock, to dress as they like, to use moronic modern language, to live with fingers permanently glued to cell 'phones and music wires stuck to ears. They have special meetings, specially-devised 'gospel' messages, and special events.
God knows none of this. The Gospel is delivered by scriptural means. Youth do not need special approaches. Why not? Because they are just people, and God does not instruct us to pander to youthful desires, which are notoriously unstable, because they are untaught in life. The Gospel is the Gospel!
But, those who think they know better decided to cut a brand new path by opening up whole fields of youth work. It did not work.
What we see today is not genuine! Youth are NOT "leaving the Church" – they ARE leaving local churches! The majority are leaving because they are unsaved. And a few are leaving out of frustration and despair, because they receive nothing spiritually substantial. Their souls are dying of spiritual malnutrition! I know this because I receive a continuous stream of complaints about it, from young people who are desperate to find a spiritual home.
In our own small church we recognise that our youth are not special cases, and may be unsaved. They attend the same meetings as the adults and hear the same teaching. If youth are present, or children, I will define words and texts in a way they can understand. But, I also do this for people who are recently saved, because there is no essential difference!
At times when we have a few small children on Sundays a female will take them to another room for kiddy-things. They may or may not be told 'Bible stories'. The aim is simply to keep them occupied in an wholesome way. Shocked? No, just realistic. If any are called of God, elect, this will be shown to us. Apart from that, Sunday Schools are not mini-salvation hunting grounds! There are no such things as Sunday Schools in scripture. Children may be able to recite whole chunks of scripture and know Bible 'stories' in abundance... but none of this means they will be, or are, saved. Some may even tell us they 'love Jesus'... but most will go their own way when they reach certain ages, because there is no salvation in them.
The youth culture so carefully stitched together by youth 'experts' is now unravelling. The tainted milk they tried to feed youth with has turned sour. Thus, young people, unsaved, want something else! They will turn back to full-on rock music, promiscuous sex and even drugs... because this was inherent in what they were offered by youth leaders. It was inherent because they used secular means to draw them in, and those they drew in could see no real difference between 'holy' rock and secular rock! That is because there is none. Some will go on to seek out 'spirituality' that currently grabs their attention. It does not matter what it is, so long as it is 'spiritual'. Even Satanism fits the bill.
When will Christians learn? Children are not spiritual seeds that will grow full term into adult Christians, simply by being put in a spiritual hot-house! If God has elected them, they will be saved. But, we are not free to induce spiritual birth by immersing them in an environment they love – using modern, godless methods and pseudo-psychology. Clearly, these have all failed. Nothing will cause a child to belong to God. Nothing! Only election will ensure their salvation. And only genuine Bible-described preaching will be used by God to guide them. Not special youth services, and especially not youth culture which is, today, 'toxic'.
I am not surprised, then, that so many youth are leaving the churches. They were just leaves glued to the tree, and not growing naturally. And now the glue is losing its sticking power. It does not matter what age you are: if you are not elected to salvation, you will never be saved. And you will walk away at some time. The churches are filled with spiritual wannabes; they are unsaved and unelected. Youth are no different, and if they are unsaved they do not belong.
Bear in mind an essential fact – churches are meant to be collections of the saved, not collections of all and sundry. No provision need be made for the unsaved... the unsaved will be led to a church where they will hear the Gospel. If they are elect they will be saved. If not, then what they hear will be a stumbling block. Youth gospels are false. They are ungodly additions to what God has intended.