Why Entertainment is Costing the Church its Young People
by Logan Judy
I’ve heard it time and time again. The church is losing its young people. If this trend continues, within a few generations, the church will be dead. Devoted Christians are losing their children to the world. As soon as they go to college, it seems, they fall away. Why? Why is this happening to us?
Well, to start with, it is absolutely a fact that the church is losing its young people. Some statistics in polls of youth groups show that as many as three-fourths of teenagers intend to leave once they are out of their parents’ home. That’s not even the highest statistic. J. Warner Wallace in 2012 collected a lot of good data about this, and in one of the studies he cited from 2002, 88 percent of children in evangelical homes left at the age of 18. There is a case to be made that these children are not leaving, but that instead Jehovah never had them, as a minister said in an article from the Christian Chronicle in 2007. So in that case, let’s rephrase the question. Why aren’t the hearts of our young people, who grow up knowing and seeing so much of the grace of Jehovah, being led to Him?
Christians have seen this problem for a long time. And what’s the proposed solution been? More youth groups, pizza parties, movie nights, and amusement park trips. Instead of filling them with the love of God, we fill them with entertainment and teach them that church is the place to get
it. And we’re so ignorant, so short-sighted, that we don’t realize that we’re adding more fuel to the fire. Because the root problem in some of these situations is that their heart is given to fun, not to Jehovah, and by adding more fun in the name of God, we’ve just driven them even farther away from Him.
Our culture emphasizes fun for children. It says that children’s purpose is simply to have fun and to be served. So when Junior wants to pick up a job to make a little extra cash at age 15, instead of valuing his hard work initiative, we say “Oh no, Junior, this is the time of your life that you’re supposed to have fun. You’ll have to work your whole life, have some fun right now!”
So guess what? That’s what he does. He lives to have fun, as he’s been told to do. And what’s fun? Pizza. Laser tag. Movies. Music. Pop culture.
You’ll notice that Bible study, prayer, and serving others as Christ served us isn’t on that list. Why? It’s simple. Those things just aren’t fun.
Fun is about me. It’s about me enjoying myself. That’s not inherently wrong in all instances, but it’s self-focus when it becomes the point of your life right here right now. And that self-focus becomes a downward spiral, because as they go to the fun things, the entertaining things, they go to entertainment. Big surprise, right? And what does entertainment teach them? Several things…
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