Is “Play” an Appropriate Apologetic in Today’s Play-Filled Culture? (Or, why do we say one thing yet program another?)

Ok, I’m fired up. Please forgive me in advance if I step over the line, but the sun is out and it is a beautiful day here in Saskatchewan. I’m fired up because I continue to read articles and online postings and regularly hear people speak about how “we need to get rid of entertainment and focus on discipleship”. This is good (no, it is great!). However, when I dig a bit deeper into the type of activities these writers and speakers do in their youth programs, I find their programs are built around and dependent on entertainment! Oh the horror.

As I have said many times in the past, it seems that we simply cannot shake our commitment to “play as the apologetic for youth culture”. Or, we are so focused on evangelism through entertainment that we cannot see the hypocrisy in posting one thing and then programming another.

For me, the bottom line is this; is fun (or ‘play’ as one noted youth leader said to me) a legitimate way to reach youth in today’s culture. (Was it ever??) Please think carefully on this. Most of you will say “Of course it isn’t. We must preach the powerful gospel, in season and out, with words and in our lifestyle.” Amen to that. When it comes to putting together a youth program however, we resort to the old “if they play with us, they will listen to our message” style of program that is worn out and unworkable. Really, is this style of program in any way effective or appropriate in today’s culture?

Final words, can we please work out what it means to run an uncompromising program committed to discipleship that is thoroughly enjoyable and attractive at the same time? This really shouldn’t be that difficult should it?

My guess is, we will only wake up when we find that absolutely no one is coming to our silly pizza nights and vapid Idol sing along competitions in the name of Christ.

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