I’m not going to lie. I have chased the youth group culture. I have tried to create clubs, events and new, hip ways to reach keep kids interested in an otherwise outdated church.
Now, I’m not against making teaching relevant and appropriate, but I am done with flashing lights and smoke and mirrors to try to make Jesus cool. I am done with trying to hook uninterested teenagers with stinky sock games, pizza parties and bowling nights.
Statistics show young adults are marching out of the church in single file lines. What we are doing isn’t working. Youth groups aren’t saving our youth.
From my own conversion experience at 16 years old, I know this, kids don’t need more pizza. They need more Jesus.
They need more substance.
Teenagers don’t need a watered down version of the gospel. They need the gospel. They need the hard parts. They need the rebuking parts. They need the don’t get drunk and don’t have sex parts. They need the pick up your cross and follow me parts. They need the eternal glory parts. They need the real story. They need the real Jesus.
They need more authenticity from us.
Teenagers don’t need to see our pretend perfect lives. And they don’t need us to try to act cool and tell stories about our sin like those were the fun times. Our teenagers need to hear the truth about the horror of our sin. They need to do life with mature Christians who just walk their walk with them. They need to us navigate through our moments of doubt, our struggles, our losses and our victories. Our kids need the real us.
Let them be the church.
Teenagers don’t need back alley church. They don’t need “be seen and not heard” church. They need the church. They need to be the church. They need to find their salvation in Jesus Christ. They need to find their rightful place at his table. They need to use their gifts and their talents to glorify the King of All Kings.
So me, I’m done with church youth groups. I’m ready to let our youth go out and be the real church.
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Rom. 12: 4-5