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Saturday, December 08, 2007 

But What Do They Do For Fun?

I was chatting with a family member the other day and I was asked how things are going with the youth group. I answered that we are doing pretty darned good and now have a core group that is four times what we’ve had in previous years.

The person that I share responsibilities with and I caught a little flack for wanting to do a Bible study twice a month. We were told, by people that should have known better, that kids don’t want to come back to church every other Sunday evening. We were told that their lives are already so busy that all they will want to do on Sunday evenings is sit at home and watch the Simpsons. We were told that the kids would never attend more than once a month no matter how many times a month we scheduled studies. One individual even went so far as to insinuate that we shouldn’t be wasting our time, after all they don’t care, so we should we bother?

But we stuck to our guns, went ahead and scheduled studies twice a month and now we have a core group that is as big as our congregation has ever had. This is in spite of the fact that we no longer have paid staff to act as cruise directors for youth. Anyhoo, back to the topic…

Said family member then asked, “What do you do on Sunday nights?” Well, I responded, we are expanding on some of the topics that we cover in my class during Sunday school. For the last few weeks we’ve been talking about early church heretics like Arius and all historical goodness leading up to the first ecumenical council held in Nicaea in 325. Ain’t that cool I asked. I swear I thought I lost the call because of the long silence. Finally, family member chimed in with “Uh, I guess, but what do they do for fun?”

Well, we do do things that many would acknowledge as “fun stuff” like playing Apples to Apples, ping-pong tournaments, and retreats to the beach or the mountains. But from the start of our regime we wanted the core of our gathering together to be centered around Scripture. This means that we show our youth that not only is theology, doctrine, and church history efficacious but all three are fun too.

I guess that if we thought all things theological were boring, we couldn’t do what we do and still keep ‘em coming back for more. But theology is fun, as is church history. We are not afraid to feed them real in-depth material that would have many of those life long Lutherans who know everything scratching their heads. And because we don’t treat them like they are six year olds, they are having fun.

So, we will always play board games, ping-pong, or foosball. But for serious fun, theology can not be beat.

P.S. for a great book on some early church history I recommend Leo Donald Davis’ s The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787) Their History and Theology. A great read even if it does get a little after the Council of Chalcedon held in 451. Davis writes in such a way that enables the reader to clearly understand how Christ’s Church has always been under attack. Again, a great read.

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Keep up the good work Frank!

Sounds great. And reinforces one of my oft-stated observations about youth ministry: kids only tend to be as excited about stuff as the adults who are teaching them. If adults assume kids are stupid and don't want to learn, kids act stupid and don't want to come. If adults act ashamed of their Lutheran theology and act as though the church down the street really has the better deal, the kids will look longingly over the fence. But if adults really care and are excited about what we have to offer, and treat their youth like the near-adults they are... surprise, they live up to a lot of your expectations or exceed them!

Anon,
thanks but it ain’t my work.

Kelly,
” If adults act ashamed of their Lutheran theology”
There’s the problem! You just hit the nail on head, at least for the uninformed, untrained laity. However, what is bothering me more and more are those who should know better but deliberately want to look like the methobaptipenticostal meeting hall down the street, not because they are ashamed, but rather because they reject solid theology and want to preach a new gospel, one that won’t offend anyone.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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