If you are in student ministry or any pastoral role and have been keeping up with “what’s hot” in the church right now than you probably have ran across the film Divided. This is a documentary film that basically says that modern youth ministry is not working and is unbiblical. I watched the film and highly enjoyed it, but do not agree with it fully. Before I give my thoughts, take an hour, which will be worth your time, and watch the film Divided below.
I totally agree that modern youth ministry has been centered around fun, games, and entertainment rather than Biblical teaching and preparation for a life following Christ. Also, I agree that the family, specifically the father, is the number one person who is responsible for the spiritual development and growth of their kids. What I do not agree with though is that just because statistics says that modern youth ministry is not working means that we should throw it out and stop doing it. I know, myself included, men and women who have a heart for God and students and strive to have a youth ministry that is solid and based on God’s Word. Also, I think the people in the film made a huge, drastic, and dangerous jump by saying that youth ministry is unbiblical just because we don’t see it in the early church. We do a lot of stuff in the church today that was not done in the early church and we are not stopping that, so why stop youth ministry? I do believe modern youth ministry needs to be reformed and believe there are many out there that are doing just that. I also believe that if a youth pastor is understanding his role and staying close to Scripture than he will understand that he is a partner with the parents and a support for the parents. He does not take the place of the parents, but helps them point their student to Christ. I have many other positive and negatives thoughts on the film, but they are not worth going on about. I am glad this film was produced and think it brings up some important questions, but let me give my fellow youth ministry friends, and everyone, a warning…don’t jump on this bandwagon unless you have searched the Scriptures, prayed, and sought God’s face on your own. Don’t let this film change you, let God change you!
Walt Mueller, a very credible and great leader in the youth ministry world, has a interesting blog post about this film. You can read it here. Also, Greg Stier, leader of Dare 2 Share Ministries, posted his thoughts on this film on his blog. You can read his thoughts here.