The Church of Juvenile Faith?

BY Doug Jones

June 6, 2012


In the most recent Christianity Today, the cover article asks, “When are we going to grow up?” It charges that, in the twentieth century, with the success and focus on youth ministry, the church has become (reflecting our culture) obsessed with becoming forever young. Adopting many of the sounds, preferences, styles, and vernacular of adolescents over the past fifty years, the church has transformed its public face, appealing to the tastes of the young.

In so doing, the church has definitely attracted a fair audience and hearing. The article continues to suggest that the shadow side of this success has been the adoption of some immature beliefs—a kind of Christianized version of adolescent narcissism. This narcissism shows up when we celebrate God, faith, and the church as existing to help me solve my problems; and this belief is accepted as an authentic spirituality.

Is this type of faith and understanding of spirituality at work in our churches? Do you see this as a problem? Are our churches, as the article suggests, playing to our culture’s celebration of youth and staying and looking young? Is the church selling our faith short by attempting to sell a gospel that is long on benefits but lean on obligation?

It seems that, if the analysis is correct regarding the current state of the Evangelical church, then what is wrong in the pew is also wrong in the youth room. We would love to hear your thoughts.


Photo credit: robchenier

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One comment on “The Church of Juvenile Faith?

  1. It’s hard, in the west, to realize that true church growth has nothing to do with numbers, but everything to do with an increased levels of surrender.

    It might be harder to admit that excellence in programs from God’s perspective is not measurable in the manner we have assumed it is.

    Perhaps the problem is this; that we ask the question about how effective our ministry is, but answer the question about how many more are coming through the door. (Humans have an amazing capacity for asking one question and answering another…)

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