Teach them well and ...(well you know the rest)
Before I get started, let me say that I have said publicly, on this blog, that whether you agree with his theology or not, you have to admire his passion. So my response to a blog entry from Perry Noble should be construed in no way as "Well Marc, you're just a Perry hater!"
I am most certainly not. However, as I read this, I had to give my thoughts on it. Perry's post is on why NewSpring Community Church focuses on children and youth. In typical Perry fashion, he is blunt, honest, and to the point. As I read the post, I'm really not rubbed the wrong way until I get here:
If we want to SERIOUSLY impact the world we live in–I believe it MUST be done through dynamic youth and children’s ministry…and in order to do that we MUST spend money on them…and if we are spending money of them then that means that some of the things we would love to see as adults in the church…well…we go without them! We inconvenience ourselves. We go without! All in an effort to reach a generation that needs Jesus more than any generation that has ever existed.
OK...so those who focus on instilling truth, passion, sound doctrine, perseverance, love, compassion, etc into adults aren't SERIOUS? That's an interesting take and a pretty bold statement. Second, the phrase "it MUST be done through dynamic youth and children's ministry...and in order to do that we MUST spend money on them" is just flat false.
What Perry assumes here, though he would never state it, is that it is the church's job to teach your children and your youth the Christian faith. Spend more money, have flashier programs, have big stuff for them to come to is THE WAY to grow mature Christian kids. SURVEY SAYS: WRONG. The family (MOM & DAD) are the instrument God picked as the PRIMARY instrument to raise children in the admonition of the Lord. The local church is second to Mom & Dad here.
Now I will concede here that Perry would say "well Mom and Dad are not gettin the flippin job done so we have to step in". It is sad that Mom and Dad aren't getting the job done, but my question is: If we focus on the kids, then who's teaching Mom and Dad how to do what we're doing for them? It's a very logical thing to see the decline of the family as the teaching unit as more and more local churches have stepped in to take their place. Barna makes the same observation in his book "Raising Children To Be Spiritual Champions".
From later in the post:
Because church attendance among teenagers and twenty something’s is the lowest of any generation in existence. Statistics show that 1 out of 8 churched kids DROP OUT of church before the age of 25. The church needs to wake up and smell the flippin’ coffee!!!!
Perry, wake up man. Churches have been pouring more money into childrens ministry than they ever have in the last 20 years. If you don't believe that, you haven't paid attention to the rise of giants like Group Publishing, Willow Creek, etc. And with all that investment, your statistic still holds true. WHY? Because we are not teaching Mom & Dad how to be the primary teachers of their children and they are abdicating that responsibility to the local church and no matter how great your ministry is, they still spend far more time at home than they do at your church. Mom & Dad have to be primary. There's no way around this. Long before there was children's ministry, there were families teaching their children the Bible.
A couple more and then I'm done:
The ONLY way to seriously impact the world that teenagers and children live in is to spend money. Disney spends money! MTV spends money! The cartoon network spends money! The church has GOT to spend moneyWow, another really bold and ultimately ignorant statement. If money were the answer, then failing public schools would not be failing the way they are. And ask any administrator what they most desire to happen to improve the condition of their schools and the number one answer you'll get is "parental involvement". It's not even close and I've asked a lot of them. Money is not the answer to anything. Never has been, never will be. This is a very shallow statement.
Our youth and kids are going to be a MAJOR focus of our next campaign…as well as local and foreign missions AND starting new satellite campusesAnd here you have the WHY? If I'm a member of this church, I'm extremely skeptical at this point. Perry, you probably will never read this post, and if I'm honest, it wouldn't matter to you what I say anyway. But I'm telling you, in case you do, teach Mom & Dad how to teach their kid. That's the most true and Biblical position you can take. And spend the money on something other than flashy lights and loud noise. Kids have plenty of that. What they don't have, sadly in a lot of cases, is a Mom & Dad who give a crap.