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Should churches have youth ministries, carnivals, etc.?

q.gif (1639 bytes)    I have seen youth ministry impact people in an incredible way. I know of a girl who recently accepted Christ and has been making some major life changes. She got out of a relationship she was in and now, because of her faith, is going to be able to say she saved herself for her husband some day.


a.gif (1659 bytes)   I thank the Lord for everyone that is saved, and whose life is transformed, but the end does not justify the means. Consider the example of the woman at the well. John 4:16-18 says, “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” (vss. 28-30) “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.” (vs. 39) “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.” The woman at the well won a multitude of men to Christ, but does that mean that we should advise all women to get married and divorced 5 times, and then just live with a man? No. That woman was used in spite of her sin, not because of it. Romans 6:1,2 says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

Despite the good that sometimes comes out of youth ministries, that does not mean that much of what they do is necessarily Scriptural. In the entire New Testament, you will never see anything similar to the youth ministries of today. They always centered on reaching the adults first, and then children -- whereas most churches with youth groups and bus ministries do it the exact opposite of Scripture.

Mark 10 shows one such example of where Jesus was dealing with adults, but was always ready to deal with the children, as well. But notice that it was the adults first — then the children. Verses 1-16 say, “And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”

Another example is seen in Acts 16:13-15. The adults were spoken to first, and then the rest of the family was later won. “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and SPAKE UNTO THE WOMEN which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And WHEN SHE WAS BAPTIZED, AND HER HOUSEHOLD, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.” They spoke to the women first, the adults, and then the children.

The same is seen in Acts 16:26-34 says, “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” They dealt with the man and his need, and as a result, the rest of his family got saved.

That is much different than the way many churches do it today. The youth ministry is the major means of evangelization in many churches, and the whole church revolves around it. Bus ministries are geared first and foremost to children. Youth group ministries plan large and frequent activities that are geared for high energy games, and then evangelism. Carnivals, circuses, or whatever it takes is the general rule for many Independent Baptist churches today. That is not what Noah did at all, when he was trying to evangelize the world in his day before judgment fell. My, how the story would change if Noah followed our practices today! This is what a modern-day Noah would do. “Okay, sons, I am making each of you a captain of this bus (I mean, this ark). There are 3 floors on this bus (I mean, this ark), and I am placing each of you over one floor. You are the captain, and it is your job to fill up your floor! The one who wins (gets the most kids on his floor) will get to be captain of the ark for a whole month during the flood. You will get to stay in the captain’s quarters. You will not have to feed the animals on board for a month. You will get your meals delivered to your cabin, etc.”

That is not at all what Noah did. II Peter 2:5 says, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, A PREACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” Noah had all of the animals at his disposal. He could have had a circus and drawn in hundreds of kids on the ark, but he did not. That is not God’s way. His way is through preaching. Using worldly tactics allows Satan to fill churches with tares (unsaved people) right in with the wheat (the saved). Matthew 13:24-30 says, “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” God was only going to allow truly saved people to escape the judgment of the flood, so there were no games and no carnival — just preaching on repentance.

It is the same principle in using worldly rock music in the church. It is brought in to attract the lost to the services. That is what the church growth leaders unashamedly say. They want the lost to feel comfortable in their services, so they play their songs (their sound). Is that what Noah did? No. In the recent Danish Festival Parade, there was a float (which I was told was from a church), that had a drummer elevated high atop their float, and some guitarists on the level below. Can you imagine Noah and his three sons up on the third floor of the ark with their guitars and drums just rockin’ and dancin’ up there? They could have named the Praise Band, “Noah and the Three Pigs” (after his son, Ham). O, they could have filled the ark in no time flat with people, had they done that!

Had Noah used the tactics of today, he would have found himself surrounded by tares for a whole year — if he personally lived that long. There is a problem with surrounding yourself with lost people, or even with very worldly saved people — they do not like anyone telling them what to do. They do not like authority — whether it is God, or the men that He has ordained as leaders. And Noah would have faced a mutiny on his hands. He probably would have been thrown overboard for being too demanding by not letting them do as they pleased. Lustful dancing on the ark. Immorality taking place on the ark. It would have been a repeat of why God sent the flood in the first place. Genesis 6:5 says, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Much of the rock music brought into churches was first done to appease the younger generation. That started back in youth groups where young people had to have their own songs. And that is where the tempo was raised; the melodies of grand hymns forsaken; and shallow, repetitive choruses with upbeat music introduced. Now, we have that generation (the youth group generation) upstairs in the regular church services. They are now old enough to be the leaders, and they were trained that church is a place to have it your own way, and that is exactly what they are doing. No one is going to tell them that their music is wrong. No one is going to tell them how to dress. It is like a repeat of the 60’s all over again — rebellion against God and authority.

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