If you walk into Grace Christian Fellowship you will notice that there are no youth groups and Sunday school programs. Everyone worships and learns together. What’s going on?
Where are Grace Christian Fellowship’s youth programs?
Grace Christian Fellowship doesn’t have age-segregated youth ministry programs for one simple reason—they don’t work. This isn’t an assumption we’ve made nor is it a decision based on isolationist motives. The modern church with all of its spending and professionalism doesn’t work when it comes to raising up the next generation of believers. And it’s not because youth are being ignored. In an era of more youth ministry spending, more volunteers and more engaging activities the Church has witnessed the greatest decline in centuries. The modern Church hasn’t deemphasized youth at all. We’ve spent more on youth in the last century than the entire church has in the last 2,000 years. But it isn’t helping. Alarmingly the research has shown a troubling fact, as Ken Ham notes, “Our research uncovered something very disturbing: Sunday school is actually more likely to be detrimental to the spiritual and moral health of our children.” (Ken Ham, Already Gone, p. 39)
Ham isn’t an anti-Sunday school advocate who’s fabricating data to support his cause. He goes through the pains of emphasizing how he feels that we need to do more with Sunday School than just the status quo. He supports more Sunday School changes and enhancements, yet goes on to admit another shocking find from his research, “It’s safe to say that Sunday school attendance is tied to higher percentages of belief in evolution. The same can be said about important moral issues.” (Ken Ham, Already Gone, p. 42) But spending more on a broken system only increases the brokenness produced.
Another problem is that an increasing number of youth leaders do not have a biblical world view. Many churches are no better than secular public school for developing a God-oriented life. In his book Family Driven Faith, Vodie Baucham writes
Researcher George Barna found that less than 10 percent of self-proclaimed “born-again Christians” in America have a biblical worldview. What’s worse, he found that only half (51 percent) of America’s pastors have a biblical worldview. (Baucham, Family Driven Faith, p. 76)
If what Baucham says is true, this means that less than 10% of Sunday school volunteers have a biblical world view! In other words, your child has less than a 1 in 10 chance of receiving biblical instruction while they’re off in Sunday school. Since modern church ministry is entirely dependent on volunteers, increased spending will only increase the influence these unbiblical teachers will have over your children. That’s not an opinion, it’s a statistical fact. Yet every time we see the failures in our Sunday School programs, we spend more money to get more of an already failing system.
What’s the solution to our present youth-ministry crisis?
What if the solution to our children’s problems was not related to Sunday School? What if we learned that there’s another method of reaching our youth that has a high success rate in raising up a faithful next generation? How did the Church in the past have such high success rates compared to the modern Church? And what does the Bible have to say about training children to be disciples? I’m delighted to say that there is another method that works and it was used by the church for nearly 1800 years with great success. It was called “family worship” with fathers leading families in the reading of God’s word.