What happened to Youth Ministry?
From The Gospel Coalition (emphasis added),
By the 80s the emergence of MTV and a media-driven generation meant church youth ministry became more entertainment-driven than ever. Youth pastors felt the need to feature live bands, video production, and elaborate sound and lighting in order to reach this audience...The message had been simplified and shortened to fit the entertainment-saturated youth culture. By the start of the 21st century, we discovered many youth were no longer interested in the show that we put on or the oversimplified message. Christianity was no different from the world around them. Some youth ministries intensified their effort combining massive hype with strong messages that inspired youth but did not translate to everyday life. We realized we were faced with a generation whose faith was unsustainable.
The result? Per the author, Dave Wright,
First, we moved from parachurch to church-based ministry (though the parachurch continues). In doing so, we segregated youth from the rest of the congregation. Students in many churches no longer engaged with "adult" church and had no place to go once they graduated from high school. They did not benefit from intergenerational relationships but instead were relegated to the youth room.
Second, we incorporated an attractional model that morphed into entertainment-driven ministry. In doing that we bought into the fallacy of "edu-tainment" as a legitimate means of communicating the gospel. Obscuring the gospel has communicated that we have to dress up Jesus to make him cool.
Third, we lost sight of the Great Commission, deciding instead to make converts of many and disciples of few. We concluded that strong biblical teaching and helping students embrace a robust theology was boring (or only relevant to the exceptionally keen) and proverbially shot ourselves in the foot.
Fourth, we created a consumer mentality amongst a generation that did not expect to be challenged at church in ways similar to what they face at school or on sports teams...
For my take, see Christians Need to Stop Making Converts.
Additional nuggets of wisdom for so-called worship leaders
In You are not a Rock Star, Clint Archer offers up some sage advice. Amongst the tips,
The task of the worship leader is to get out the way of worship, and to lift our attention to God. He cannot do this if he is showing off his ability to do a lead break. Worship leaders need to be humble. They should dress modestly. Sometimes musos have a particular look they are going for in their midweek gig. But when they ascend the platform at church, their personal brand is expendable.
It's ironic that the studio founded by the son of Hollywood founding father Samuel Goldwyn should be the one releasing "October Baby." Apparently, the acquisitions department never took to heart Goldwyn the elder's most famous Goldwynism, about what movies are supposed to do:
"Pictures were made to entertain. If you want to send a message, call Western Union."
I wonder what Moore thinks about Schindler's List, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dances with Wolves, or All Quiet on the Western Front, just to name a few. Nah... no message in any of those.
Yet, despite pro-abortion bias, it's interesting what the New York Times is reporting about the movie. From Film Inspired by 'Abortion Survivor' [yes - note the scare quotes around the term] is a Quiet Hit,
As mass entertainment goes, the abortion debate does not typically count as good Saturday-night date movie fare; the subject rarely makes it to the mainstream multiplex. But at a time when the issue is once again causing agitation in political circles, a small film, “October Baby,” about a woman who learns she is, as the movie puts it, a “survivor of a failed abortion,” is making a dent at theaters across the country.
Can a Christian Vote for Barack Obama?
Simple answer - Yes.
This post, at Conversant Life, seemed to be an attempt to objectively look at the issues at hand, yet fell prey to caricaturizing Republican ideology with,
Why is the party that supports the NRA, increased military spending, decreased economic regulation, and harsher immigration policy still the party most publicly associated with Christians?
Sigh. I suppose I could ask,
Why is the party that supports Planned Parenthood, decreased spending on protecting its citizens, increasing costs to consumers through governmental regulations, and the continued ignoring of existing immigration law considered a viable alternative for Christians?