Children and Youth religious vs non-religious instruction.

Polycarp posted an entry showing a satire of a youth minister, and mentioned a 10 minute version of it.

I went and viewed the 10 minute version. It was funny. But sad too.

Its sad that so many who grew up in the church can actually say this reminds them of youth group. We are entertaining our youth, but we are also leading them down the road to perdition. Where is the need for repentance? Where is the need for the saving work of Christ on the cross? Where is the need for personal holiness? We are so worried about giving children crafts and youth relevancy and pleasure that we are failing to teach our children what really matters. If a child goes to Sunday school class one hour per week, and takes two Sunday’s off a year, after fifteen years, they have been exposed to 750 hours of religious teaching.

There are 8760 hours in the typical year. Lets say they are in school for 8 of those hours per day, five days per week, with time off for holidays and vacation and summer and sick, they are exposed to over 1400 hours PER YEAR of secular teaching and the morals found in schools – that is almost 18000 hours of instruction and indoctrination after 12 years. If we add in the hours they spend with friends, TV, and video games, say 3 hours per day per weekday (over 550 hour per year, not counting lets say 8 hours per day for the summer and vacation days, we’ll call it 40 hours per week, or approximately an additional 500 hours per summer or 5500 hours before graduation), plus 8 each for Saturday and Sunday (800 per year, or roughly 9600 total, not including the time before they started school), we are talking about approximately 35000 hours of time our children have been entertained and instructed and indoctrinated by someone or something other than us or a religious leader.

Lets see, 750 hours of possible religious instruction vs 35000 hours of non-religious instruction. We could double the number of religious hours of instruction if the kids go to church (although much of that time is spent singing and milling about).  We could triple it if they go to Wednesday night club of some sort. Ok, lets say 2250 hours of possible religious instruction, vs 35000 hours of non-religious instruction over the course of their lives. Is it any wonder why do not see more people staying in church upon graduation?

This is why I say we need to leave children’s ministry and youth ministry behind and move towards family ministry. Most parents have no idea what it means to be a Christian, let alone how to teach their children. They want to drop them off for an hour or three a week, and we wonder why so many people leave the church when they leave home. Parents need to be involved and need to be mentored on how to be parents from a Biblical model. Parents need to model to their children how to be Christians. Parents need to teach their children and teenagers, through modeling it in their lives and in meetings, what it means to love God and love others through surrender to God and acceptance of Christ as Savior and what it means to minister to others.

I’ve written a couple of things on this:

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