I just across a book, Give Up the Gimmicks: Reclaiming Youth Ministry From an Entertainment Culture, that echos a need for youth ministry that I have sensed for quite a while. Here is a blurb from the author, Brian Cosby:
“All too often, youth programs have turned to entertainment-driven models of ministry in order to bring in youth. Success has become the name of the church-growth game. The devastating effects, however, are not only seen in the number of youth leaving the church after high school, but also in a spiritually and theologically shallow worldview among many American teenagers. The irony is that these same teens actually want to grow and learn hard truths. They want to know how to think about suffering, how to pray, and why Jesus had to die.”
Is there no place for fun and games! Of course there is! A full-orbed biblical worldview has a substantial place for laughter and enjoyment. The problem comes when we substitute substance with the shallow and replace the gospel with gimmicks.
For more on Cosby’s introduction to this new (old) way of doing youth ministry that is based on the ordinary means of grace, go here. To oder the book, just go here.