This week I watched Divided, a movie discussing if youth ministry is Biblical or not. It can be seen free at www.dividedthemovie.com. After watching I agree with the filmmakers about the problem with youth ministry, I just don’t know if I agree with their solution.
The problem the LeClerc Brothers are identifying is correct, there is a lack of parental guidance in our culture and lack of Biblical teaching in the home. The underlying message of the movie is fathers are not doing their duty as the priest of their family. I wish with all my heart this were not true, but more and more I see it in my ministry and in the world around me. Youth and children are not learning about God at home, they are learning about Him somewhere else, commonly at church in a program designed for them.
However I disagree with the movie’s solution to this problem. Although they never come out and say “get rid of youth groups”, they feel that’s the answer. I disagree. I agree with the idea that youth groups are being used in the wrong way, parents drop off their kids to “get some Jesus” so they don’t have to do it themselves. But if a tool is not being used properly, you don’t blame the tool, you teach the person using the tool. The tools used to make and distribute this movie, a video camera and the internet, are misused all the time.
So do we take away these tools from the filmmakers? Or do we teach people to properly use these tools? Do we as youth pastors quit the ministry to students, or do we teach parents they are to be a part of their child’s spiritual development, have them involved in our ministries with their children?
Although I don’t see eye to eye with the movie on the solution to the problem, this movie helps me to step back and take a look at what we do and what we need to do. How we need to be reaching out to parents and empowering them to raise their children. How we need to be inviting them to be a part of the ministry. How we need to be encouraging our students to be reaching out to their peers who do not have Christian homes or parents and bringing them to a place where they can meet not only students who love God, but other adults who will mentor and love them into the Kingdom of Christ.