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Youth church or entertainment forum? Why pastors must watch!

by Church Times

By Anthony Olusola 

Just before 2022 ended, I spoke at a Youth Convention of a church. During my admonition, I threw many foundational scriptures (in Romans, John, Corinthians, etc.) at the congregation, expecting them to know and complete the scriptures for me. To my utmost surprise, they were just looking as if they had never heard such before. I wonder what we teach and emphasize in our Youth churches.
Three Sundays ago, I spoke in our church, and towards the end of my sermon, I threw a challenge to the youths (ages 18 to 27) in church; I asked them to read the Book of Acts and send me a written executive summary of the 28 chapters within a week.
The first two ‘correct’ respondents were to receive 5K each (10K for both). I’m yet to receive anything from anyone, three weeks after. The only person that made any attempt at all sent me a voice note which was far from what I wanted (content-wise), and certainly not an executive summary that was meant to be written.
Reading the Bible is not on the priority list of most youths. They’re simply in love with their phones, social media, movies, and other pleasures/frivolities of adolescence. I have this challenge with my own children too. May the LORD touch the hearts and minds of this generation. Amen!
The two cases above should make us reconsider and rejig our Youth Church concept. When we (ages 40 and above) were young, we attended Sunday services with our parents in the adult church. We heard the same sermons and teachings with them,  and we gleaned Biblical Truths from those services.
There was nothing like ‘Youth Church’ back then! We had a Youth Fellowship, which was in the evening of Sunday, fortnightly.
We had very zealous teachers in the Youth Fellowship (Brother Japheth, Brother Francis, and co) who expounded the Word of GOD more accurately to us during such meetings. They taught us about prayer and fasting, memorizing scriptures, and attending Camp meetings.
That system (what we had then) appears much more EFFECTIVE than the exuberance we call Youth churches today. I’m certainly stirring the hornet’s nest here, but we need to deconstruct and reconstruct our Youth churches, outreaches, and programs.

Also read: Children’s department, not a dumping ground, pastors note: https://churchtimesnigeria.net/children-department-church/

What we have now is grossly ineffective and shambolic. Many of these youths are learning nothing in our Youth churches o! Let’s stop playing church and religion with our future! Let’s rescue and remedy this situation, NOW!
If we have to return to the OLD EFFECTIVE SYSTEM of parents and children together in the same auditorium (despite the much-argued peculiarities of today’s youth) so be it!
All this dancing, choreography, shouting, and youthful exuberance we call ‘Youth Church’ is leading us backward o!
I have said my own, as the LORD put it in my heart. Let the same shepherd speak to the youths and adults on Sunday, and let there be Youth fellowship in the evenings to break the ‘bones’ into meat and milk for them.
Over to you General Overseers, Superintendents, Pastors, and Administrators. May the LORD guide you appropriately, in JESUS’ Name.

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