The other day, my wife and I received an e-mail from the youth pastor of the previous church we attended inviting our 15-year old daughter to the upcoming youth “food fight”, named “Crud Wars”. It was probably an errant email because we haven’t attended the church since the beginning of the year and to this date there has been no other attempt to contact us anyway. We were probably just still part of an address list.
Neverless, the errant e-mail merely cemented further why we left the church to begin with. It also brought back up why we are still so discouraged in finding another. A couple of posts here and here at Cerulean Sanctum about the state of youth ministry in the American Church deals a little about we were seeing within the youth group at our previous church.
At far too many churches, youth service has tured into nothing more than play time without any gospel ever being presented. Oh, sure, there are sermons, more like talks, about “rockin your school for Jesus” or “being radical for Jesus” but no presentation on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus….you know…the gospel. Please don’t mis-understand me, I see nothing wrong with having fun in youth service; but at the expense of sound biblical teaching and gospel preaching, “fun” now rules the service.
Now on to the reason for the e-mail from our previous church.
Over the past several months, the pastor has been exhorting the entire congregation to get involved in helping out in the community. The sermon series he’s been presenting has been based on showing the love of Christ by serving others. Last week they had a churchwide event at a local homeless ministry where they go and serve the homeless meals. Most of the people that the homeless ministry serves have nothing. They eat only the food they obtain from the ministry. Our previous church thought it would be a good idea to show the love of Christ by serving food.
Now the good part…..for the last several weeks, the youth ministry of our previous church has collected food from the youth of the church. They have asked that canned goods, especially gooey ones like baked beans and pudding and ketchup be brought up to the church for an “outreach” (my term, not theirs) they will be doing. Sounds good so far. Sounds like sacrificial servant leadership. Until you find out that the food is being collected so that around 40 or so youth can get together and throw it at each other in one massive food fight.
So on Friday last week they serve starving homeless people food and by Wednesday they are throwing hundreds of pounds of food at each other in the name of entertainment.
Words fail me at the hypocrisy of a Christian wasting food in that manner in the name of “being Jesus to the world” while at the same time getting all teary eyed at the thought of a starving homeless person.