I’m a child of the ‘60s & ‘70s. I have the ticket stub to a Led Zeppelin concert to prove it (go 1976!). Back in those days, it was all about “sex, drugs and rock and roll”. What I mean by this is, those were the great perceived threats to the Christian life.
My feeling is, we’ve never really moved on from this when it comes to guarding our youth through the maze that leads to Christian maturity. Sure, those are valid and very real threats (sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll). However, they are not at the top of the list—there are a number of other much more real and present dangers when it comes to taking our youth away from the Kingdom.
This week, I want to focus on what I feel is the main threat, and I then want to pinpoint one area that I’ll focus on a number of times in the coming months.
The main threat facing our youth today is… too many choices. That’s right, too many good choices facing all of us. You probably can’t remember back to the days before cable TV but a time actually did exist when there where only a few channels on. Now we have so many programs available that we could not possibly watch them even if we wanted to.
Think of all the options available to our youth in the areas of sports, entertainment, study, and social pursuits. It wasn’t all that long ago that an overseas trip was a once in a lifetime goal. Now, schools regularly take students abroad. (Here at Briercrest a student can do a whole term in St. Petersburg if you wish.)
These options, and I want to be clear, many of them are good options, are killing our youth. Options don’t promote health or freedom. Quite simply the opposite—they promote selfishness and self-absorption. They can even lead to paralysis (“I don’t know what to choose!!”) and, in my opinion, one of the causes of depression.
I realize that this is the world we live in and we must play the hand we’re dealt so there’s no use spilling too much ink over it. However, let’s be clear on this; good discipleship is equipping youth to choose the right options. It is leading them to maturity so they can choose what to say “yes” to and what to reject. It may even mean saying “no” to seemingly good options. An example of this is joining a club so that you can make non-Christian friends to share with them the gospel. This is a good thing to do… if you’re not too busy already. If your schedule is already packed, it is a bad option, unless you get rid of something else. Catch my drift?
Now let me take this in a certain direction…
In most places, it is not uncommon for our youth to go to more than one youth group. Some among us would see this as a good thing. One parent said to me a few years back “I want my child to go to as many youth groups as possible and drink from as many ‘fountains of Christ’ as he can!” This meant her son only came to our youth group irregularly, despite the fact that he would call our church his home church.
Going to multiple youth groups. Certainly an option in today’s world… but is it the right one?