Tuesday, September 11, 2012

OFF (part 1)

Grappling with the age old youth pastor discussion.

A light switch is either “on” or “off”.  If it is not in the “on” position then it is “off”.  If it is “off” I cannot force it to be “off” any more than it already is “off”.  “Off” is “off”.

I’m always curious as to this line of logic.  “If I take my teen to church whether they want to be there or not I’m forcing them and I don’t want to turn them off, so I let them stay home because they don’t want to be there.”  This, for 20 years now, has always seemed to me that a teen in this position is already “off” and by taking them to church you can’t turn them “off”, they have already made that decision themselves.

God will hold me, the parent, accountable for training up my child in the way they should go.  My children will be held accountable to God if they decide to walk away from their faith.  If at the age of 18, and they are no longer under my roof and responsibility, they decide to turn “off” or continue to be in the “off” state then God will hold them accountable.  But if they aren’t there they won’t hear something that may sink in and make a difference in their life in the here, and now and for eternity.

“Force”.  I hear this word used in this discussion as well.  It is almost as if a parent never forces their child to do anything.  Some don’t, I guess, those are often the children who fall under the “spoiled brat” category. 

Do we force them to go to school?  But I don’t want to turn them off to learning.  My three diplomas won’t go to eternity with me, but the relationship that has been, in part, cultivated through connection in a local body of believers will.

(More to come)

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