We’re pumped today to release a new article section on the Simply Youth Ministry website. Today we posted the first article called Raise Your Hand in a section dedicated to Understanding Youth Culture. Excited to partner with Walt Mueller and CPYU.org! Here’s a clip:
Okay, this one might get me in some trouble. And it’s all because I’m increasingly convinced we’re doing something wrong in youth ministry. We’ve been chugging along thinking we’ve been doing it right. As a result, we continue to do it wrong because we think it’s right, and in doing so, we’re undermining the very work of the very God who we pride ourselves in serving. Are you confused yet? Let me explain.
What’s prompted my thinking on this matter is a publicity piece I recently read regarding a self-described “youth evangelist” who touts his “success’ by advertising the fact that he’s led over one million kids to Christ. Sorry, I just can’t take that too seriously. I wish I could, but I can’t. To be fair, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard claims like this.
My hesitancy to trust the numbers started way back in the late 1970s when, as a college student, I attended a conference where evangelist Tom Skinner was the keynote speaker. I can still visualize Skinner, a brilliant man whose passion was deep, talking about the waning influence of the church on American culture. In an effort to challenge us to take our faith seriously, Skinner asked a very thought-provoking question that has stuck with me since that day. “George Gallup’s research tells us that 50 million Americans describe themselves as ‘born again Christians,'” said Skinner. This was great news–until Skinner lowered the boom that rocked my simple and satisfying world. He soberly asked, “If there are 50 million born again Christians in America, where are they?” Skinner’s thought-provoking question and the reality it exposed has haunted me for 25 years. I thought about it again when I read the youth evangelist’s claim.