As a student of divinity, I have opinions on almost all topics that deal with religion and theology. As any good theologian and aspiring theologian- the study of God and His Word is taken very seriously in my home.
If you are a veteran of this weblog, you know that the issue of youth ministry comes up often. Youth ministry is something that I take with a grain of salt and feel strongly that it does little lasting good to those that are involved. For the most part I see many of these programs doing nothing more than producing immature Christian adults (which is often evidenced by the number of Christian college students who use the NIV Student Bible.) I am also under the impression that "youth ministers" are often annoying 20 year olds with their roots bleached blond(e) and their noses pierced. I find this to be of little use in the kingdom of God, even though this is the norm for those doing ministry.
(Harsh? Maybe...True? Definitely.)
I have often thought that youth ministry needed to be reformed so that it could be done in the context of the covenant of grace. We know that the promise of the covenant is for us as well as for our children; and in some way genuine ministry to the youth of the church needs to be a reflection of that fact. Mark DeVries, who is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, has written a fantastic book that made me say out loud (on numerous occasions) "that is exactly what I have been trying to say!"
Pastor DeVries uses his 25 years of experience with youth and explains the "crisis" that this discipline is currently in, as well as gives his analysis of what it is going to take to reverse the damage that we are doing to our covenant children through current youth ministry. This book is worth the time for anyone that is interested in what could become the new model for youth ministry. He challenges those that are in the church to reach out to the youth and to build the relationships that are needed to aid in the maintaining of a living and active faith in Jesus Christ.
"Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rule. And family education and order are some of the chief means of grace. If these fail, all other means are likely to prove ineffectual. If these are duly maintained, all the means of grace will be likely to prosper and be successful."