Some of the conversations I had over Christmas with people surprised me, I heard things about young people I used to work with in a church youth group that surprised me and it’s got me thinking.
Just before Christmas I read a book called ‘Practicing Passion’ by Kenda Creasy Dean and she suggests that the church has watered down the message of Jesus we no longer have anything to offer young people. She suggests that young people are looking for something to be passionate about, something worth dying for and that Jesus should fit that criteria but more often than not in churches He doesn’t.
This has led me to thinking about my own youth work and youth work in general. Is church youth work watered down to the point where we tread carefully so we don’t scare off young people rather than it being something immensly challenging?
Is the reason for the church being so apathetic and inactive because for generations we’ve presented a simple, risk-free Christianity rather than the demmanding, challenging Christianity that we are presented with by the bible?
I wonder if all too often we under estimate young people, perhaps we forget how passionate they can become about things, perhaps the actions of young people I heard about over Christmas were because they wanted a way to express passion and the church just didn’t provide that.
If gun, knife and gang crime can teach us anything perhaps it teaches us that young people have passion, a passion for something worth dying for. For them this passion is their friends or other gang members or even family members and is channelled in a fairly negative way through crime but what if the church actually presented a gospel that required that passion rather than a hymn book?
Maybe we’d see young people turning to Jesus rather than gangs, maybe we’d see young people being passionate about Jesus rather than drink, drugs or sex.
So where does this all start?
I think in order for us to present a gospel like this we need a church and its leaders/deacons & youth workers to have that passion and the confidence to preach a challenging gospel over a nice fluffy ‘Jesus can be your girlfriend’ style gospel.
The challenge for Christian youth workers and church volunteers is to think again about the way we explain things to young people and the Jesus we present them with.
Comments and thoughts would be apreciated