Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Readers, please help me. I am on a quest to discover how today’s youth workers are teaching doctrine and theology to their students. I whole-heartedly believe that we are working with a generation that wants to know what they believe. So, youth workers: please send me your thoughts on this. What are you doing in your church to teach the “whole counsel of God” – including doctrinal truth and theology to your students?
You can post your comments here on my blog – or just send me a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your thoughts and comments might be a real encouragement to other youth workers – and what others post may just help you. Thanks!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
We certainly have had strange weather lately where I live in northeastern Pennsylvania. Due to a strong windstorm a few months ago my family’s garbage cans literally blew halfway down the block with the contents spilling out and spreading all over our neighborhood. I just noticed again that there are still plastic bags from my garbage higher than I can reach in the trees in front of our house.
God’s Word uses the vivid illustration of being “carried about with every wind of doctrine” as an apt depiction of the importance of teaching doctrine and theology in our churches. The Biblical objective of local church ministry is to produce people with the spiritual maturity for a life of service for Christ. Read what Paul wrote about church ministry in Ephesians 4:11–16. The Apostle Paul’s admonition to the believers in Ephesus was that pastor-teachers were to equip their people for ministry. The people, in turn, would build up the body of Christ. It’s in this context that he painted the picture of children being “tossed” by waves and “carried about” by the winds of doctrinal error.
The travels my garbage took from the can in front of my house to the limbs of trees illustrates what can happen if preventative measures are not taken in life’s basic activities. Even more important is the imperative we have been given by the Lord to ground our students in His Word. Our ministries must be more than entertainment and much more than fun and games. We have the God-given responsibility to equip our students so that the “winds” and “waves” of false doctrine do not blow them away - theologically speaking.
Ephesians 4 describes the devastating and intentional strategy our Enemy uses to assault our students as they progress toward spiritual maturity.
- “Sleight of men” means trickery. It’s from the ancient term for “cube,” or dice playing. This term carries the idea of a con artist.
- “Cunning” means a planned, subtle, systematized error.
- “Craftiness” has the idea of a clever manipulation of error to make it look like truth.
These descriptors are exactly the things our students will face in middle school, junior high, high school, and college. Our world is evil, and it’s no place for immature children, so to speak.
It’s interesting to me that the word for “children” that Paul used in Ephesians means “those who cannot speak.” It was a term describing infants, those too young to talk. In this passage, the Apostle related spiritual maturity to not being “carried about with every wind of doctrine.” In other words, one of the characteristics of spiritual maturity is being able to verbally defend what one believes theologically.
There’s no room for kid’s stuff here. What we do is serious business. Certainly we must be creative and culturally relevant, but our purpose must be to ground students in Biblical truth so that they know what they believe based upon the Word of God. We have an awesome responsibility to make sure that our students are doctrinally grounded. As youth workers, we’re not about “children’s ministry.” We work with students who can “talk” and who should know what they believe and how to defend it. That’s what spiritual maturity is all about.
NOTE: I’m very interested to hear from other youth workers about what you do to teach doctrine and theology to your students. How do you make sure that your students know what they believe before they graduate from high school and leave your church’s youth ministry? Please post your comments below or send me a note at email@example.com.