You absolutely MUST listen to the White Horse Inn’s podcast on Discipleship! These guys have talked around the Youth Ministry/Intergenerational Discipleship issue for a while now, but this recent broadcast hit the nail on the head. I could not believe what I was hearing. Remember, these are not FIC guys. Nevertheless, they have identified the problems inherent in age-segregated ministry. At one point Ken Jones says point blank that “the only place we see [systematic age grading] is in the public schools.”
Again, I am not saying these guys are on the FIC side of the ledger. In fact, I’m sure they are not. However, if you’ve been listening to what those of us in FIC circles have been saying about age-graded ministry, this will sound eerily familiar on a fundamental, philosophical level (some of this could have been pulled right out of Family Driven Faith). An honest, unbiased assessment of the Youth Ministry movement (unless provided by Youth Ministers and those who make a good living from the YM cottage industry) will inevitably lead to the same conclusions I’ve been drawing for the better part of a decade... 1) Youth Ministry is indefensible Scripturally/exegetically, 2) Youth Ministry usurps the authority of both the church and the home in the disciple-making process, and 3) Youth Ministry, on the whole, has failed miserably.
Gradually, the pendulum has begun to swing. First, Youth Ministry researchers began to sound the alarm about worldviews and dropout rates. This led to a move away from “entertainment based” Youth Ministry. After that, there was a shift toward involving more “significant adults,” and eventually the introduction of various forms of “family based” Youth Ministry. However, the missing link in this chain is the Bible. Now more and more people are beginning to acknowledge the fact that the YM movement is fundamentally flawed. Of course, the obscene amounts of money to be made by Youth Ministers, camp pastors, worship bands, staging and lighting companies, T-shirt companies, Colleges, Universities and Seminaries (who offer YM degrees), curriculum companies and the like will insure the continued existence of Youth Ministry.
At any rate, this is a wonderful podcast (YM is actually a small part of what they are dealing with). Go to the link and look for the “Listen Now” section. Click on the “What is Discipleship?” link and have a listen. After that, subscribe to the podcast and begin to enjoy the ministry of the White Horse Inn