“At their best, youth ministries attract and at least temporarily retain teenagers who might otherwise leave the church. But the relentless attention to teenage tastes ends up communicating that God exists to make us feel good. [And so] Christianity operates as a lifestyle enhancement…And increasingly, Americans of all generations take it for granted that emotional fulfillment is one of the main purposes of religious faith…"
~ Thomas Bergler "The Juvenilization of American Christianity"
Some of our young volunteers have not been fooled, but some still struggle because they have not seen beyond "how it makes me feel", or "personal performance of church standards makes me feel good about myself" as the measure of faith, light, truth and discipleship.
So today I am contemplating ways we can help them catch the vision of living a life of profound strength in Christ amidst the foundation shaking challenges of life; to see faith and discipleship as deeply personally transforming both our hearts and our actions; a force for strength and peace and love that makes us His committed and holy servants who are finding strength in Him through all things life brings, rather than seeing faith as a form of hoping for and expecting and depending upon divinely bestowed, indulgent and random, (or, alternatively, performance based) gifts of happiness boosts amidst the vagaries of our lives.