“Our Thoughts on Church Youth Programs”

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Episode Summary

This is one of those episodes that we likely won’t all agree on, but is important for everyone to hear and think about.

This is a touchy subject for sure, but we will never shy away from getting people to re-think their decisions, after all, we all want to defy the terrible statistics that a majority of kids raised in Christian homes walk away from the faith after launching. The normal Christian parenting rhythms aren’t working; so what does that mean for youth programs? Regardless of your position on this, you will appreciate this episode and nourish good marriage conversations that need to happen.

Listen to episode 114 with Ken Ham on “Parenting Kids to Face the Giants”

Scripture From This Episode:

2 Timothy 3:16 – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

Hebrews 10:24-25 –And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Matthew 19:14 – “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:5-9 –And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”

Malachi 4:4-6 –Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

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Full Transcript:

Note: This is an automated transcript and misspells or grammar errors may be present.

Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show to equip parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.

Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom.

And I’m Isaac from Resolute Man.

We’ve been married for 21 years and have seen the fruit from raising our eight kids biblically. Based on the raw truth found in the Bible.

We can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children. Too many children from Christian families are walking away from their faith by age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Join us as we start an important conversation about effective parenting and a following. Hey, welcome to the podcast, everyone. Hi, guys. We’re so glad you’re here today. We’re talking about an interesting topic. We’ve gotten lots of questions on it, especially since we’ve kind of just let out a little bit of our opinion here or there in some of the episodes about youth programs and so forth and church. And so we’re going to give you our take on youth programs with biblical truth. And I think this will be a really good episode for everyone. We realize probably a majority of people listening have their kids in youth programs.

Yeah. And I mean, I would I would even say that you could probably put Sunday school into the same category. So for those of you who have little kids as well, some of the verses that we’re going to share with you guys in today’s episode will probably exhort you or challenge you to think, Oh, is this actually the most edifying for my family? And that’s something only you can decide. So every now and again, Isaac and I will be hitting hard topics that are like literal, like, okay, so God is unwavering on his opinion regarding this specific thing, right? But Sunday school and youth groups is one of those open handed issues. Isaac And I really want to make sure that you guys know that what we’re sharing in here is just some thoughts to maybe challenge people to think a little bit deeper. Hopefully you’ll walk away very encouraged to either continue doing your youth group and super thankful for what you have, or maybe you’ll go, I don’t know if this is really producing the fruit that I want. My family and whichever way that goes, just know that like we can be brothers and sisters in Christ and not have to agree on this specific topic. Again, it’s an open handed issue, it’s a non salvation issue.

So regardless, I think everybody will get something out of it and so we’re really excited about it. As you probably know, we have not been part of youth programs with our kids, our kids have visited them before and so forth as we’re wrestling through this at different churches.

But and they’ve also participated in like an event that a youth program will put on in a local area where they have like a bunch of friends from their home school co-op go into it, stuff like that. We’ve done that over the years.

But you know what? Our conviction may or may not be your conviction, but here is our take on it. Right before we get into it, though, we so appreciate you being part of the 10 Million Legacies movement. That is literally just a goal, a mission of the ministry to impact 10 million families and their legacies. I know it’s huge, but you know what? Doing this week after week, although there’s a lot of joy that comes from it, there is hard work also. And for me to be motivated, I think Angie is the same way it takes having a big goal for the Kingdom of God. And so we’re really on board. I know so many of you are on board with us and whether you give reviews on the podcast and five star reviews, that really helps the algorithms get the podcast up there. But also when you purchase courses at Courageous Parenting com or just share the ministry with people or donate even, that really makes a difference. So we so appreciate it, by the way. Yes, the coffee is coming, so we’re super excited about that. The app is out and spin out for about eight months and it is so encouraging to see the biblical community growing in there. So be courageous in the App Store. Check that out too. Okay.

Yeah. So on the Be Courageous app. Before we dive into the podcast topic, there’s just something I wanted to share briefly. A lot of people don’t realize. So Isaac and I were motivated to create an app because we had been searching for a solution for the courageous Parenting Mentor Program’s live situation. We used to have a group on Facebook and a lot of people didn’t want to be a part of Facebook, but they wanted to be a part of that group because they were getting so much out of it. And we didn’t want people to feel forced to have to stay on Facebook or Metta if they didn’t want to. And so we searched for a solution and then it just made sense to make an app. And now it’s become this alternative social media for like minded Christians that don’t want to be a part of things like Metta. And so it’s also kind of our like it’s our main place that I would say that we are going to be focusing on. And that’s a good thing because we don’t know when or if we’re going to get deleted at some point, right?

Yeah. So it’s approaching 800 biblical Christians subscribed and it’s just going to every day people are joining and it’s just really encouraging to be in there with you all. So anyways, we so appreciate you all. Let’s dive into this. So, you know, first of all, I just want to say pastors because we have pastors that listen to us, youth leaders, obviously even some that have gone through our parenting mentor program and loved it and so forth. I, my heart goes out to you in a good way, meaning that I really have studied leadership in the business world and so forth and been in various leadership positions. And I would say that the leadership position of pastor of a church is the hardest leadership position and a lot of ways and I just my hat goes off to you because I know you’re doing a really good work for the. Kingdom. And and that’s amazing. So this is this episode is with unity in mind. It is with being supportive of the bright of Christ. We believe in the Bride of Christ, from the megachurch to the small church to the home church, as long as they’re preaching Christ crucified, amen.

So yeah, and they’re not compromising on the scriptures. I think that, you know, ultimately when we’re talking about just an encouragement, we also want to give you guys some practical help. And so one of the things we would recommend for all people, regardless of if they’re in pastoral ministry or youth pastor ministry, and if you are, please pay attention to this. Check this out. Answers in Genesis dot org that creation scientist can Hamm. He is also the one of the co-founders of the Ark Encounter. That’s in Kentucky. And the Creation Museum. One of the foremost Christian creationists, has written so many helpful tools, including curriculums that youth groups and VBS Sunday schools can use to disciple children in Christian apologetics, which is really what should be at the core as a mission. It should be discipleship. I think that sometimes youth pastors are like, Oh yeah, I get that. There’s this issue when they talk to parents like us, right? Isaac But maybe what needs to happen more than anything and is an encouragement to have tools from someone who’s actually studied at length the, the demographics of people leaving in droves from the Christian Church over the last decade or two decades. And who has really nailed this down? And I would say that would be Ken Ham. He’s already written a couple of books. One of them is called Already Gone. I would highly recommend that as well. So this is just our like tiny little plug for resources that will help you. It’s something that’s really influenced our view on this over the years. I remember we heard him speak at a homeschool conference for the first time when our oldest was maybe six, and it really like made us rethink a lot of things for sure. And so at the least, it’s helpful for evaluating what the mission of the church’s vision is for discipling the young people in the church.

And there’s an episode you can look it up that where we interviewed Ken Ham about his book, Already Gone, but we really talked about all kinds of wonderful things regarding this topic, actually. Yeah. And so we would really encourage you to go look for that. So, you know, one of the things I think, Angie, that we were talking about is that youth programs in the church isn’t actually in the Bible.

That’s right. And so that’s something that for us, we always question why do we do this or why does the church do this? Or This is actually what led us to homeschooling. Why would we just put them in public school? Because that’s what we happen to us. Right. And I think a lot of parents, we do that unintentionally. We lean back on our our experiences as a child and how we were parented. And we just kind of go into the mode of doing what is normal or what’s common in the communities around us. And I would say that as far as larger churches are concerned, Sunday school and youth programs are a common thing in many churches. And so because they’re common and so many people put their kids in them, there’s this silent parental peer pressure, if you will, even if you don’t want to put your kids in to do it. Do you know what I mean? And there’s also this, because we’ve been you know, when you’re raised in the kind of culture now I’m talking about the bigger world, secular culture, where you don’t question authority. A lot of people don’t think to ask, why do churches do youth group? Why do churches do Sunday school? When, why were they created? What era were they created and what was it for? And so it’s very interesting history. That would be a whole nother podcast that we’re not going to be getting into about the history of how youth groups and Sunday schools came about. But if you go and do the research, I think you’re going to be shocked. Industrial Revolution. There’s your key. But what’s interesting about this is that it isn’t talked about in Bible. In fact, the model that we see is how churches in the New Testament.

However, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing just because we said that there’s lots of things that aren’t prescriptive in the Bible that can be additive good things. And that is our third point. We’ll get to that. Youth programs can be additive if other things are happening, which is important. So it’s not extra biblical or it’s not anti biblical, but it is extra. It’s not in the Bible. So I think that’s a really important thing. Now, one thing I want to say is that I was recently having a conversation with somebody about this, that a lot of times when people are looking for a church, they are looking for a good youth program that actually a lot of times is the. Priority. And therefore there’s that pressure. We can’t leave this without saying this. There is a pressure on the church today because of cultural norms in the Christian community that if it has a good youth program, therefore we can consider it as a church for our family. If it doesn’t have a good youth program, it’s not something we’re going to put in our realm of looking at. And so pastors know this and they understand that, and I’m sure most pastors are doing it because they believe in it and so forth. But there also is that pressure. How do you build a church today? That would be I don’t know the answer to that.

Without having.

Without having youth programs when that is what Christians expect.

Well, and I would say, like, it can actually be very additive. Like let’s just talk real basic level here. You know, the courageous parenting motto is equipping confident Christian kids for an uncertain world. Right. And we go about that by trying to encourage parents and equipping parents in how to raise confident, courageous kids. Right. That’s kind of been our tagline for a while. Churches, what should their ultimate motto be, which is also part of our like mission. Ultimately, as believers, we all have the same one. It’s called the Great Commission. I think that what is missing, though, or what gets forgotten a lot, is that people think that the Great Commission is all about only about evangelism. When an event evangelism is important, that’s like God calls us all to to that to a certain degree. And there are some who are more gifted evangelistic, actually. Right. That’s a gift, a spiritual gift. But really what God calls us to in the great commission is discipleship. And not to be confused with conversion, right? When you see the big churches that are all about the numbers, it doesn’t say Go Ye therefore and make many converts. It says Go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That’s the Great Commission. And if that’s our mission and if that’s the Church’s mission, then that should be their mission within the Sunday school classroom and within the youth group as well, to make disciples right. And that should really, truly be a partnership that’s happening between the families and the church, not in replace of the families having headship or authority or the dads being the pastor. Right. For example, Isaac is always talking about how, hey, dads, if you’re if you’re a parent, you’re a pastor. Yeah. And that is a calling that God has on our lives as parents. And sometimes people over delegate that. Right. And the temptation that I see within many churches is that they have the youth groups or the Sunday school classroom happening at the exact same time as the church meeting.

So let me ask you a question. If no teachers existed, that wouldn’t be a good thing. But if no teachers existed, what would we do? Well, every parent would find a way to teach their kids. They would find a way. If no youth programs existed, what would we hope parents do?

They would disciple the.

Disciple, their children. And I’m just making a point that sometimes there is a tendency of once we delegate someone, something to someone, we let up on our part. And that is what perhaps needs to be fixed. Which is it? Just because people are kids are in a youth program, it doesn’t mean we let up on discipling our kids. In fact, it should be as as fervent as ever, regardless of additive programs they’re in.

Yeah, that’s true. And I love how we’re putting it, like when we’re talking about it as additive because it really it isn’t something that Isaac and I are super closed off to indefinitely for all of our kids. Right. Like in, in regards to every particular situation regarding youth group or even a Sunday school type of thing. Right. However, there is this element of there’s no way that we would ever let our kids participate in something if it was happening at the same time as a church meeting. Right. And the reason why we actually had this is the part where I think that we really want to dig into scripture with you guys, because the Bible is very clear about us making sure that we are going to church on a regular basis and we’re not missing out on meeting together. And so in Hebrews 1024 actually is where it says not to neglect the fellowship together. I’m just going to read from that scripture really quick here. Hebrews 1024 and 25 says, and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near. So this specific scripture is talking about the gathering, right? About the church meeting together. And so if God is telling us here, he’s saying, do not. Neglected. That’s a command, right, Isaac?

It is. And you might say, well, the kids are gathering together and the adults are gathering together over here. But I don’t that’s not the intention of what we see in the Bible. That’s not what was modeled when the church was growing and started. So to separate that, just think about when so when do if they’re happening at the same time. When do kids start understanding the importance of what actually going to churches, the actual church meeting where the pastor is preaching, where we take communion together, where we worship together all ages. When does that happen? And then they’re launched into the world without experiencing going to church. They’ve been going to youth programs.

Mm hmm. And the other aspect to really ask. That’s a great question. I think that what we just want to do more than anything is kind of take you guys through some of the questions that we have asked ourselves and gone, hmm, these two just don’t reconcile together for us on a long term basis. The the verse that is in Matthew, chapter 19, verse 14, where Jesus says, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven. I can’t help but remember one time when Isaac and I were, we were either traveling or maybe we had just moved to, I think, his central Oregon. We were visiting churches and we walked into a church. I’m not going to tell you which one it was. Doesn’t matter. But we walked into a church at the time, I think I was pregnant with Solomon and we had so much pressure from everyone as we were walking into the sanctuary to sit down with our kids for the next service. Literally, I think I was stopped maybe five or six times. You were also by multiple Sunday school teachers and youth pastors. Oh, hi. Hey, do you need help getting your kids to class? And there was this real pressure to put the kids in class when, first of all, I we were visiting. I did not know any of these people. I wasn’t just going to let one of my kids, maybe six or seven years old, walk off with a stranger and get into a Sunday school class. I don’t care if it’s at a church.

We would never do that.

Yeah, no, we never. Anybody there. Exactly. And so here we are, like over and over and over again, getting pressured to put them in a class. And then we go and we sit down kind of towards the front of the sanctuary. Do you remember this? And one of the ushers slash elders comes and asks us to put our kids in Sunday school or to move to the back. And we’re like, Why? This is so rude? So we moved to the back, so we moved to the very back and the kids were phenomenal. Can I just say, like I remember this specific service because I this memory is.

There was a lot of it in my mind. It’s like.

Oh yeah.

Don’t.

Breathe. They were like they were like, kids are just too loud. And so we have Sunday School happening and did it and I’m like, too loud. What did the Bible say? Jesus said, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them. For such belongs the kingdom of Heaven.

We’re supposed to have faith like a child.

And I just. I, like, didn’t know anybody. I wasn’t going to put six kids in six different classrooms with people I didn’t know. And I wanted to get to know the church, and I wanted their opinion on how the church meeting happened. And here I was feeling this massive pressure to keep everybody silent. It’s just pure silence. And you know what? Then someone like I think one of the kids had a little car and was being really quiet but had a car and the usher again told me to walk my son out. So. So he kicked me out with him basically. And then I came back at the end of the service when the music started playing and all these older people turn around, they’re like, Oh my goodness. I had no idea there were five kids sitting behind us this whole time. They were so quiet. And I’m like, Exactly, because they were paying attention. Like, it just was this very vivid memory of an unwelcoming church feeling.

Now, I will say that we’ve gone years to churches where almost everybody put their kids, if not everybody, into youth programs. And our kids sat with us. And it was.

It wasn’t a.

Problem. We’re friends with the pastors and we got along great and there was no problems, no issues. And I know that is actually probably a norm.

And we appreciate that. And there.

Are a lot of situations where youth programs don’t happen at the same time as the sermon, and that.

Is an additive.

The actual meeting, the church meeting, and that’s great age integration is fabulous. And it’s really important that I guess the the question people probably have is, what aren’t your kids noisy? How do you train them to sit? During the church.

Meeting, we did a whole nother podcast, not.

Just on that, but it’s just really important to know that it is possible and it is okay if there’s some noise. Obviously, if a kid starts crying or something like that, one of us will take the child out until they’re done and bring them back in and deal with situations. But you know what? The fruit of them growing up in the body of Christ and reflecting on the same message together and asking what they thought and they and teaching more about it and all those things in the car. Right home and once we get home is so fruitful, it is vital that everybody in the family is getting the same.

Experience.

Experience so that we can talk about it so parents can continue the discipleship from what happened on Sunday. I want to take a moment and give you something for free if you haven’t got it already. Is the date night one sheet. It is a beautiful document you can download that will have some key questions on it for your date night. Just get in alignment about what’s most important for your family. No matter what time of year, it’s always important to recalibrate. You can get that by going to parenting dot com and subscribing to our mailing list. Also you can get all of our show notes and everything at courageous parenting dot com. And I also just want to share real quick about the parenting mentor program. So many families are being transformed by going through this. It’s the six week self paced program with live engagement from us and even direct interaction. So if you want to join us, here’s a little bit more about it. You can find out more at courageous parenting dot com.

Steve and I realized that we were getting too comfortable with the world’s vision of how to raise our children.

But Angie and Isaac have done in creating this is literally phenomenal.

This program provided awesome scripture based teachings and just some really great practical applications. This class has just really rocked my world.

It has given me a vision for not just the different things that we might focus on as parents who are trying to raise our kids biblically, like how our kids are.

Behaving.

Or what we’re doing with discipline, but also the things of the heart.

We now have a game plan to how we want to raise our children. We have so many answers to the questions that have been in our mind.

It’s not just these hypothetical situations or it’s not just this. Here’s what I think you should do. It’s let me show you where in scripture this is.

Do your legacy a favor and yourself a favor and just do it.

One of the best things that we’ve done this year, one of the best investments we’ve made this year, and I could not recommend it more.

We’re no longer fearing dark days ahead, but we’re so excited to raise lights to be leaders for the next generation.

I think about just that verse, that exhortation, where God is telling us, commanding us, really warning us massively not to neglect the gathering together or meeting together. And I think about the meeting, the church meeting, and and what scripture actually does tell us is prescriptive for every church meeting, right? We’re supposed to listen to the apostles teaching. We are.

Breaking a.

Bread there for the breaking of bread, which would be communion. We’re there for prayer. Yeah, right. There’s many things, too, when you think about.

All the worship too is in there in a different spot and breaking of bread is also actually fellowship ing together. Yeah, it’s fellowship around food.

So here’s the thing. When you know what the Bible talks about regarding what is prescriptive for what’s supposed to actually take place during a church meeting, for the reverence and glory of God, for the discipling of the body, for the edification of the body, for fanning the flames, equipping of the saints. Amen. When you know that that’s what the church meeting is for, why would you hinder a child from going? Why would we do a habit of taking them and dropping them off? I’m just going to say it to child care. To child care. Why would we drop our children off to child care even if that child care happened in a church so that they they were not with us in the church meeting experiencing this when God’s word actually commands us not to neglect it. And in Deuteronomy six, God puts the jurisdiction and responsibility on the shoulders of the parents to be teaching their children God’s commands and how to learn about him modeling having a teachable heart. There is something so powerful about your kids watching. You have your Bible in your journal Open, having a teachable heart before the pastor, listening, learning, and then asking questions in the car ride home with your spouse and seeing you guys both seeking God together. That is replaceable. You cannot replace that. There’s also this element of like, I have to be honest, like there was a point where when we were talking about the concept of like Sunday School and youth group, where I was convicted as a parent and going, no wonder so many people leave the church by age 18 if their whole life they’ve been going to child care or going to a Sunday school or a youth group experience that maybe was focused heavily on fun and less on discipleship.

Now, I know that that’s not the case for every situation, and I’m really thankful for the ones that do actually get the mission of discipleship. So just bear with me here. But like in our experiences at many different churches, that was the primary thing that we saw. And how in the world, though, are kids going to transition from being a child who’s focused on having fun and playing with their friends to how do they even know what it looks like? To be a Christian as an adult if they literally never see it modeled and they don’t sit with you in service. Not only that, but there’s also this element of big church spectator, Christian ese type of stuff that goes on in Christian Christendom, if I will say. And I think especially in America, where people will just go through the motions. Right. And I would think that anyone who’s listening to this podcast today would agree that they don’t want their kids to just go through the motions of legalistic saying, Oh, yeah, I believe in God. And I go to church on Sundays to check off a box like we all understand here. Or I’m assuming that we all would understand that it’s about relationship with the Lord and glorifying Him and living out the mission and purpose that He created.

It reminds me of what we talk about all the time is we want to do while they’re growing up consistently over and over and over again what we hope they replicate in their future. And so we want them to replicate going to church, being part of the body of Christ, not just with their age, but in an age integrated sense. We want them confident, speaking with people older than them. This speaks bodes to their future when they’re interviewing, getting jobs and things like that. There’s a lot of things and I really think it comes down to the question we all have to ask. And you might continue doing youth programs after asking you this, because maybe where you are, there’s really good answers. But we need to do what’s fruitful. And the issue is what’s fruitful is usually harder. So sometimes we’re just like, I need a break. The kids can go learn over there. I need to hear the pastor and sit in the meeting. And by the way, that’s understandable, especially if you have a lot of young kids. Understandable. However, the future fruitfulness of your kids. The stats don’t bode well for that. The stats are most people. Most children are leaving, walking away from the faith that launched from Christian homes. And so if we’re going to counter the trends, we have to do something different. And I’m not saying that this is the one thing that makes all the difference. There’s many things, right? If you listen to our podcast for very long, you get lots of little tidbits that will help you. And reading the Bible and so forth. But your leadership is so important. So we need to lead in the efforts that have long term fruitfulness, not just for us to have a moment of peace and quiet and hear the sermon.

Right.

But more importantly, actually is the future of fruit and the fullness of our kids.

So I just even think about like I was talking about spectator issues being a spectator versus a participant in a church meeting. Right. And when our kids go to church with us, there may be an element where they’re sitting there and they’re watching people. They’re watching people use their gifts for the edification of the whole body, whether it’s the worship leader or the pastor that’s praying for communion, the people who are handing out communion, the ushers, they’re seeing people, greeters, they’re seeing the pastor teach, they’re hearing the pastor teach. And that those exposures to those different gifts are actually meant to your kids, are meant to be exposed to the body of Christ, functioning as a body with many members that all have different gifts for the edification of them all, which is second Corinthians Chapter 12. And there are other scriptures as well. But I just even think about this concept of like when our kids are little and they’re, they’re soaking things in and they’re learning and they’re creating their worldview and they’re thinking about themselves and how they interact with the world and how they interact with the church and how they interact with God and other Christians. It is so important that they see that there is a need. God created them to be a part of the Body of Christ. The body of Christ actually needs them because they have special gifts that they themselves are also supposed to practice for the edification of the whole. And when we put kids in a compartment and we put them in child care or we put them in Sunday school, and they are never exposed to the real church meeting and they don’t see the value in that and they’re not taught the value in that.

They’re not taught a reference to learn how to be quiet during the church meeting. Then it potentially is also shutting off the opportunity for them to envision themselves as an older person or even a young person exercising their gifts within the body of Christ. Like I remember when I was 12 years old, being able to lead worship during church service, and that was huge for me. That was huge for me to be an actual active part of a body. And and that is God’s design, guys. I just have to say that that’s God’s design. So when Isaac and I say we don’t do youth group, that that is something that we have had a conviction on for quite a long time regarding our kids in Sunday school, although they’ve tried it at times. And part of that too, though, is that a lot of the churches we went to was that the. Same time as the church service. And we just were not willing to let our kids grow in the habit of neglecting the church meeting every Sunday while they’re going to have fun in Sunday school or in child care or in youth group away from us potentially hearing a completely different message, which, by the way, if you’re sitting in another room, you don’t know what’s being taught to them, whether by peers or other kids. Regarding church, that’s an issue.

There’s also authority just the just think about the word authority for a second. You’re putting your endorsing the authority of whoever’s leading the youth programs. Well, let’s say they’re really good. Awesome. Usually, though, they’re much younger. And one of the things is that when someone’s younger, they don’t have a life experience. And to.

Back up giving wisdom.

Giving wisdom, correcting and so forth. And so what happens a lot of times is that youth leader becomes a source of the kids, give divulging all kinds of things to versus their parents because there’s no repercussions. There’s no repercussions for any of the.

Sins, potential.

Sins or challenges because they’re not the parent. And I think it’s really important that first and foremost, the parents are the most important human authority in their lives, and there’s nothing usurping that. So just maybe something to think about is how do we make sure if youth programs are happening, that the parents remain in that leadership role? And I bet you if there’s church leaders listening and go, well, there’s not enough parents involved involved in stepping up, we try and and they’re not stepping up and in these things and I go, well, what new can we try?

And what if there was instead of doing a youth program, what if there was within a church where they actually took the effort to train parents in biblical parenting? What if they did six weeks of we’re not going to do youth group or Sunday school, but instead, you know, we’re or or maybe we do. But during that time, we are going to be teaching parents biblical parenting. And we’re going to encourage and equip the parents in our church so that they can partner with the church, which is really what should be happening. You know, one of the things that we for sure have witnessed over the years is this what Isaac was just talking about regarding authority, where the kids will start to really get attached to a Sunday school teacher or youth pastor. You see this in sports all the time too, like with coaches and stuff as well, and maybe they start going to them for advice. That’s kind of more what Isaac is talking about. Like, let’s say a kid was in high school and they invited to a party where they knew that there was going to be alcohol or drugs or something. And they’re scared to talk to their parents about it because they know what answer they’re going to get from their parents. But instead, they kind of soup up the story and they talk about it with the youth pastor. And the youth pastor is like, Oh, I think it’s a great opportunity to be able to be a witness because that youth pastor is justifying because maybe they have done it themselves or they just are scared to say no to the kid because then the kid won’t necessarily come to them again.

And they’re worried about that because they’re like, Oh, if they’re coming to me, they’re probably not coming to their parents. I don’t want to push them away. I don’t want them to not come to me again or I don’t want them to not come back to youth group if I don’t give them the right answer. So there’s this element and I’m not saying all youth pastors are this way at all. I’m just sharing with you partially what I’ve experienced in my past, being growing up in youth group and what I witnessed. But also the truth is, is that Isaac’s right, like a lot of the youth ministry guys are, are or even women are people who one day want to be a pastor, but they’re really young. And so they plop them into youth ministry right before they’ve been a parent. Or maybe when they’re a really young parent and they don’t have experience with correcting children biblically, they don’t even have experience parenting biblically. So are they prepared to actually give biblical parenting advice to the teenagers parents because of how their own age? Probably not because they’re not a Titus two.

It can also be pressure to not divulge what’s happening with some of the kids because they look at it as a black eye on what they’re doing, what their role is, and the culture of their youth group, even though probably has nothing to do with what they’re doing. But that is how they get a salary. That is how they provide for their young family. And they want to potentially have an image that things are really good and parents only want to put kids into a youth group where things are really good. So there is a pressure not to divulge the reality of you’re putting a bunch of young people, some of which are believers and some of which are not together with authority of an inexperienced in terms of life person. Right.

And so I just you just got to think about this. If it was any other situation and not in a church building or not condoned by a church, would you do it? And if you wouldn’t, you need to use that same wisdom. But I think that ultimately the biggest issue at hand is that most parents don’t actually take time to get to know the youth pastor or the Sunday school teachers to even know if they would trust them with their children, which is a whole nother issue. We’re not going to dive big into that. But I got to say, like, if you’re putting your kids in child care, you better know who’s watching your kids and changing their diapers and taking them potty. You better know who’s teaching them the Bible and what they’re teaching.

Actually, it’s so important. This is just a great scripture. In second Timothy 316 All Scriptures Breathed Out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training and righteousness. And so that the biblical truth needs to be the foundation of anything happening and without compromise. I think that too. I think kids actually are desiring that. And an encouragement would be not to get rid of all fun, but to make sure the programs are balanced, heavy on biblical truth and discipleship, and having fun. Also, the fun is important. It’s important kids see Christians having fun together in a wholesome way. But just be careful of the things.

That are come the idol.

That you’re not sending. I would just be wary of sending my kids to overnight things with a group of mixed non-Christian, Christian, strong Christian, and with very little supervision and supervision that doesn’t really, you know, hold the line.

And I would say to potentially like you guys, you know, our heart with like even education let’s just bring this real, real practical here. So it’s been become aware to everyone in the last three years that there’s all kinds of agendas that have seeped into the educational system and that lots of things have been being taught that most of us would say, I cannot believe this. I would never allow my kids to learn this. Right. Have you thought that at all about what you’ve become aware of? Well, the truth is, is that progressive Christianity has been seeping into the church for a few decades now. And the truth is, is that a lot of what is potentially being taught, if it’s being taught by people you don’t know could be progressive thinking, it could be unbiblical, it could even be anti biblical. What we’re seeing around the nation and even worldwide with different churches and embracing drag queen shows within churches and weird stuff happening, it’s like, Are you kidding me? How is this even happening in the church and OC? And so and I know that that’s just an extreme that I put out there. But the truth is, is do you know what the Sunday school teachers and what your youth group leaders believe about this kind of stuff? And do you know what they would say if a child or a youth came to them and asked them point blank questions about gender, for example, like, you should know what their answers are going to be if you don’t.

And you want your kids to be a part of the youth program because you are like, I do see fruit. I would encourage you to maybe talk to the the youth pastor and the pastor and go, You know what? Things are going good. But I just I in my spirit, I feel like maybe us parents need to come together and collectively and have a night where we’re sitting down with the youth pastor and we’re able to talk and find out what they personally have conviction on regarding all of these issues that are swarming around in the culture that we know our kids are being potentially exposed to, the other kids in the youth group are being potentially exposed to because we need to have confidence that we are all of one sound mind. Which brings me to a whole like we can’t go dig deep into this, but isn’t that what Paul exhorts us to as Christians in the local assemblies to not be divided but to be of one sound mind? Amen. On doctrinal issues and gender is a doctrinal issue. Yeah, actually. And so if you don’t know what your youth pastor believes and what he would answer a kid one on one with if they came to him and they were having confusion, if you don’t know what he would say and what he says is not necessarily in alignment with the word of God, then you’ve got a problem.

And so these things have to be talked about. There needs to be a recalibration of unity among the body of Christ, especially on the local assembly, where there is literally people rising up, understanding that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, there are lies from the devil, and you need to be gatekeepers, watchmen on walls, protecting your children. Yes, you may be going, Wow, this sounds like a lot of work. If I put my kids in youth group and it is and it is, it’s just going to say either way, it is a lot of work. Either your discipling, your kids or somebody else is discipling them and you’re discipling them and you’re going back to them over and over. And that’s actually why one of the reasons why we’ve chosen not to do it, we actually just don’t have the time capacity to do all the extra stuff that we’re talking about that we do know needs to happen if we were to. But then in youth.

Group, I also know you can’t come in to something that’s really established. It’s very difficult in an organization, a church, and come in with the goal to change the leadership’s perspectives on things. So if they’re not already in alignment, you can always try and contribute and give your feedback. But a lot of times when things are already going in a direction, it’s very hard to shift that direction. And so, but hopefully where you go to church, you’re in alignment and that would be wonderful.

That’s right. So we have another scripture that we want to share with you guys. It’s in Matthew Chapter 18. It’s versus five through nine. These are red letters. So again, not this this part’s not our opinion when we’re reading scriptures is God’s opinion. It’s not Isaac and Angie’s opinion. In verse three, Jesus starts out saying, Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. That’s huge. Why wouldn’t we include our children in the church? The church means super humbling.

Our children in our hardship so that they can pray.

Right?

Exactly. More people praying, the better.

So here’s verse for whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Amen. And so we need to be humbled by that. Verse five says, Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be to be drowned in the depths of the sea. This is this is a huge warning, right? And it’s one that Isaac and I take very seriously, kind of like James three one. Not many of you should want to be teachers, my brethren, unless you receive a stricter judgment. And I want you guys to know our heart in this. I don’t think that sending your kids to Sunday school is necessarily a sin, but I will say that God commands us not to neglect the gathering together, the church meeting. And so if we are sending our kids to child care and they’re never participating in a child in a in a church meeting that is teaching them to neglect the church meeting, which is teaching them how to habitually sin, actually. And this is a big warning about that, that we’re not supposed to tempt a child to sin.

Matthew, 1914 says, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of Heaven. And he laid his hands on them and went away. So kids are important to Jesus, to God. Kids are important to all of us. You wouldn’t be listening unless kids were super important. So then the question is how do you navigate your unique situation? You pray, you ask the Lord to give you wisdom and maybe you have a good situation and maybe your youth group isn’t meeting at the same time, and you can make sure they come to church with you. You guys can grow in that area of training them during the week, so they sit still with you and have that experience.

And then maybe you put them in a Sunday school hour so they can spend time with their friends. But you’re there, too, and you’re in. You’re you’re involved, you’re serving and you’re investing in the other kids. I do truly believe that if we as parents are going to be putting our kids in something, then we need to be. There is an amount of investment that we must put in so that we’re knowing the friendships that they’re making. And we’re able to give our kids wisdom and our kids are able to talk to us about their experience as well, and they feel like we get it. And so, you know, there are ways that you can go about this, whether you’re the one teaching Sunday school or volunteering every Sunday there with them. And I know that some people listening, they’re like, wow, that is a lot of work. It can be, but it’s good work. It’s like what Isaac said before, hard doesn’t mean that it’s not right. Like usually the best choices are the hardest ones.

I just think a good reminder, especially dads listening to, is what’s your most important job? Well, it’s to nurture your marriage and then it’s to raise love and equip your children and point them to Jesus. Yeah. And so everything else is provision important. It’s vital, right? So that’s vital, too. But we’ve got to do both. We’ve got to be diligent. The world is changing. The enemy is using every way to get to the kids and change the next generation to love the world, not to love God. And so we’ve got to be diligent. And right here in Malachi is the crucial thing here, Malachi four, verse six. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest they come and strike the land with a degree of utter destruction. And so that is so good that fathers, we turn our hearts towards our children and we really think critically. One of the things I think comes naturally to me and I think. The energy to it may not come naturally to everybody. We recognize that is this willingness to suspend what’s normal, to critically think about what’s best, what’s normal. I’m going to really think about what’s normal because my experience is that what the droves are doing a lot of times isn’t necessarily what’s most fruitful. That’s certainly true in business I’ve found, and it’s certainly true in leadership.

Certainly true in family.

Certainly true in family.

Marriage.

And so we have to really have a biblically backed Holy Spirit filled. Critical thinking experience about anything our kids are involved with. And if they’re going to be involved in something, let’s have confidence because we’ve done our due diligence and we’re not sacrificing something God says is really important, like the church meeting. So let’s really think about these things as pray about these things. And you might be wondering about socialization. I mean, I already homeschool and I, you know, when are the kids going to meet people and things like that? Well, that is a true concern. That is a valid concern, something that prayer be prayer and praying about and considering. But the question back to you is this how is your hospitality? How are you doing at becoming great, at engaging with other biblically minded Christians and getting better at it even when you stub your toe and not getting frustrated, but continuing on pressing on to find like minded families to run the race with and your kids can be friends with each other. That is where we need to be persistent to. Right? Super important.

You know, this last verse that Isaac read, I don’t know if you guys caught it. He said he was reading from Malachi chapter four versus four through six. It’s the very end of the Old Testament, actually. It’s the last the last words of the Old Testament, which begs us to, one, reflect on the Old Testament and what God commanded us and all the lessons that we’ve learned, but also begs us to look forward to the future, because this is talking about Elijah, the Prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes, right? So that’s like verse five, I think. Yes. And so he’s like giving us vision for the day that Jesus is coming back. And then he ends it with and he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. It goes both ways. It’s actually a both ways thing. And one of the things that we have seen, unfortunately, time and time again with things like sports and youth group programs, is that children’s hearts are turned away from their fathers and towards the youth pastor, and then fathers hearts are turned away from their children and kind of in animosity towards the youth.

Pastor, have you ever have you ever noticed that? Think about that for just a second. Right where I’ve I witnessed it myself when I was a young person, that there were parents that were frustrated with the youth pastor. So there was this animosity towards the youth pastor. But part of it was also that there was this they could tell that the loyalty of their child’s hearts was actually more for the youth pastor who was getting paid to have fun with their kids while they were working super hard and would have loved to have fun with their kids, but they didn’t make the time. And that can be super hard navigating that. And that’s one of the reasons why Isaac and I were recommending like, okay, so if you’re going to do youth group and it’s going to be a good additive program, you also need to be involved in it so that that doesn’t happen, so that you do keep your child’s heart. So I just got to ask you, who has your child’s heart.

And are.

You have your.

Child’s heart and are your kids ready to be lights? Are they equipped not just the good idea of our children or lights? Are they equipped to be lights in a group? We’re not everybody’s believers and there isn’t a lot of supervision where there’s usually a younger person with little life experience leading it. Are they ready to be lights? And if they are and you know that, that can be a good thing as long as we’re not forsaking the meeting. But you know what? It’s also youth programs can be wonderful for.

The single.

Mom, single mom, the broken homes that, you know, praise the Lord. There’s something for kids to go to when parents just aren’t able able to.

Yeah.

Or aren’t doing it but are able to and so but you know if you are intentional, I think that’s the people listening is you either want to be more intentional or you are really intentional. And our encouragement to you is to really pray and think through this and sure have your kids involved in something. If you know what’s happening, you know the quality of leadership. You know your kids are ready to and equipped to lead strong, stand firm and not fall into falling in those groups. And we just hope this was edifying. I know for a fact that a lot of people are going to disagree with parts of this. And our heart is unity. It’s our heart is respect towards people that have disagreement on this. We love you if you disagree even on this. Right. So there is no dis discord here.

No, but I would think that, like, just so you do know, you’re probably thinking them. Why are you even talking about this? Because now there’s a whole bunch of us sitting here and we’re all going. Now, I don’t know if I want my kids in Sunday school. Now, this is an issue, right? We feel.

It’s our job to get people thinking about.

Things. So that is true. This hour, our courageous parenting. We’re going to talk about courageous issues courageously. We’re going to talk about the hard things here on the podcast. We talk about even harder stuff in the parenting mentor program for the purpose of equipping so that parents are not parenting with rose tinted glasses on, but actually. Parenting in reality, understanding that they have the freedom to ask why? Why does the church just do this program thing that they’ve always done when the kids are leaving by the time they’re 18 and not integrating into the church? Why? Why should I put my kids there? Do I know the people leading it? Am I involved? Is it at odds and creating a habit, actually, where my kids are getting into the habit of neglecting the church gathering? And what will that look like when they are a young adult? Is it actually training them to think that going to church has to be fun? And then once they’re older and they’re sitting and they’re supposed to be learning and worshiping and being reverent and like doing communion and all these things that they didn’t grow up doing, then they’re dissatisfied. They’re not entertained, and they leave. Like, we have to ask these questions because the statistics are so staggering, so shocking, so disheartening. Something has to change. So the narrative of what is taught needs to be foundationally, scripture is authoritative. We’re not going to allow progressive thoughts or new age lies from the devil to come into the church. We need to make sure whoever is teaching is strong biblically and they’re not going to compromise for friendship or anything. We need to make sure that we are standing and walking above reproof and that we are discipling our kids, even if we are additively doing something in addition. So you guys, we love you. We love the church, but we want the church to be walking biblically. We want kids to rise up, be launched into the world, and be stronger than we were when we were younger. I’m sure you’d agree with that, too.

And they need to be all right. So praise the Lord. Thanks for listening.

See you next time. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. For more resources, go to courageous parenting and courageous mom dot com for free online workshops, blog posts and best selling courses. Also, we wanted to quickly tell you about our six week online parenting mentor program. Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works. Each week we release a video with a downloadable parenting packet to make it easy for you to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

This is an incredible self-paced program where we cover everything from obedience training to overcoming mistakes most Christians are making. But more than that, it’s a supportive community. You’ll have access to our private online group, Live Webcasts, and the courageous parenting text message line where Angie and I can send you weekly encouragement straight to your phone.

If you’re interested in joining our next online parenting mentor program, secure your spot now at CourageousParenting.com

Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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