Baucham and Youth Ministry

“Paradigm Shift, Not Program Shift: An Interview with Voddie Baucham”

Gary Shavey inteviews Baucham, who discusses his book Family Driven Faith.

In his book Baucham calls families to recapture the vision Scripture presents for the family. So much of evangelicalism has bought into the notion that programs are the primary means by which disciples of Christ are made. God has instituted the family to be the primary means by which discipleship happens and sticks.

In this interview, Baucham sees three things wrong with typical youth minstries:

1) It’s not scriptural. It is not biblical to separate people based upon age. It is based on the government education system.
2) Actually works against biblical model of family discipleship.
3) It doesn’t work. Since the advent (late 60’s, early 70’s). Our youth baptism and retention rate has steadily declined.

“Youth ministry is one of the symptoms of the problem.” That problem is that we have left ministry in the hands of the paid ministers and forgotten our call as soul care-takers of our children.

The role we have adopted has actually usurped the role of families; it has crippled the role of families. Baucham says that we have created a “spiritual welfare system” where the parents are told to stay out. Thus, when a youth worker tries to “do their job,” they find that they can’t because the parents have not been training their children at home.

What are your thoughts about youth ministry? I have friends who are youth ministers, how should this inform the way they/you do ministry to youths?

Comments 4

  1. I think Baucham has identified the problem correctly (lack of discipleship in the family) but falsely lumped youth ministry in with it. Let’s be honest, not every student comes from a family who goes to church. The vast majority don’t. And if they do, what are the odds that their parents are in a place spiritually where they can disciple their children and help them grow?

    Not good.

    I like his motives and his resolve, but I disagree with some of his conclusions.

  2. How did he falsely lump it in? He is merely saying that it is A symptom of the problem. Apart from those children who come from unregenerate homes, most of our problems do stem from a downplay of the family’s role in ministry. Youth ministry has made it too easy for parents to abdicate their role…Such a separation of youth from older people has developed a culture of immature adults.

  3. FYI – Baucham, has and would advocate for others to pursue the “elimination” of youth ministry, not reformation. He thinks all age segregated ministry is wrong…he thinks the same about public school as well.

  4. First thing youth ministry started before the 60’s, (started more in the 40’s) though it may have been when it gained recognition and momentum. Secondly a affective youth ministries encourage parents involvement as well as involvement from the older members of the congregation. Thirdly if you elliminate youth ministries (the segregation of ages in order to better ministry to each need of that group) you will see a sharp decline in young christians because, I have seen in countries other (outside of the US) that “christianity is for old people and I will have time for that later.” I believe he has lumped all youth ministries into a “bad” category and is mistaken for doing so. Teenagers need to know Christ now therefore God has ordained people to minister to their specific needs.

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