11/11/15 at 03:15 PM 0 Comments

Youth Group Madness

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By Todd Friel Excerpted from “Judge Not,” available Nov. 16.

How low can evangelical youth ministries go?

• A mega-church youth pastor put peanut butter in his armpits and had the kids lick it out.

• Kids at youth groups were coerced into drinking Coke through their friends’ used socks.

• Kids at youth groups vomited as they ate brown blended food out of a baby’s diaper.

Tragically, these scenes are not anomalies. They are part of a long-established church trend called “Youth Group Gross-Out Games.” This is the modus operandi of countless juvenile youth groups led by juveniles.

If you think I am exaggerating, here are just a few of the gross-out games recommended at one youth ministry website. These are the actual descriptions.

Banana Barf: Have two or three volunteers put a whole banana in their mouth, instructing them not to eat it. Then put a pair of panty-hose over each volunteer's head. Have them squish the banana through the tiny holes in the hose into a trash bag. This game is hilarious, because when you take the pantyhose off the students' heads, the banana still stuck in the hose is smeared across their face!

Hilarious? Maybe if you thought Dumb and Dumber To was funny.

Banana Split Feet: Bring three boys and girls up front and pair each boy with a girl. Set several tubs of ice cream and condiments in front of the girls that they will use to make a banana split. The girls have to make their partners’ banana splits using their bare feet and feed it to their partner!

At least they don’t play weird cross-dressing games.

Beautiful Boys: Pick six girls and put them in pairs and have each pair pick a boy. Ahead of time, buy cheap makeup, hair clips, clip-on earrings, necklaces, etc. Put it all out on a tray or table. Give the girls two minutes to make up the guy, then have the group vote on the best looker. Take great blackmail pictures for later.

That shouldn’t cause anyone’s reputation to be destroyed. We should be ashamed that we are treating our youth like this. Why are we shocked when evangelical youth behave like knuckleheads when we treat them that way every Wednesday night?

So Much for Dignity

A youth pastor is not supposed to be “hip.” He is supposed to have dignity and teach the youth to be dignified.

Urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach. (Titus 2:6–8)

It’s pretty hard for a youth pastor to encourage young people to press on toward spiritual maturity (Hebrews 6:1) with whipped cream coming out of his nose.

Tragic results George Barna claims that American teenagers who attended a youth ministry for at least two months have a “fall-away rate” of 61 percent upon attending college.

The erroneously labeled “backslider” rate should shock us into recognizing our youth ministries have failed miserably. Six out of ten kids slip-slided through youth group, only to run off to college and reveal that they were never a genuine convert. These false converts did not backslide, they never slid forward in the first place.

We can imagine a few false converts slipping through the youth ministry cracks (probably because of all the pudding smeared on their bodies), but 61 percent? No other organization would tolerate statistics like this without radically altering its course.

We do not need to study this issue further; the results are in. Contemporary youth ministry is a colossal failure. But instead of weeping and repenting, we just keep amusing our youth straight to hell.

Excerpted from Chapter 5 of Judge Not: How a lack of discernment led to drunken pastors, peanut butter armpits and the fall of a nation. Available November 16. www.wretchedradio.com

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