Just an undeveloped thought I’ve been turning over in my head recently, birthed from research on megachurches this past semester:
Could the lack of good preaching in evangelicalism be partially attributed to the youth group paradigm in evangelicalism? Many youth groups focus mainly on entertaining and engaging youth with activities and fun instead of immersing youths in the gospel and engaging them in what they believe and why they believe it. It’s the old bait and switch.
Is it possible that this youth-group-as-entertainment paradigm has spilled over into America’s pulpits as youths have graduated to adulthood and now expect similar entertainment from the pulpit?
I think part of the solution is to start with bringing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, teaching them the gospel truths and catechizing them from a young age instead of treating them either like little pagans – hoping them make a choice for Jesus when they graduate college – or like lesser intellectual beings, unable to absorb anything longer than 10 minutes (Nooma videos, anyone?), let alone anything not close to entertaining.
Maybe if we stopped treating them like immature kids unable to understand anything of depth and actually gave them something spiritually meaty to chew on, they won’t act like kids when they are adults. It’s all about the foundation, especially considering that less than one percent of youths have a Christian worldview. I’m not saying that fun and games has no place in youth ministry. But when that’s all it is, youth “ministry” is just another extracurricular club.