17 May Dear Youth Leaders, Please Drop The Pop Culture References
*This post is part of a series
I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2). Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world (James 1:27). We hear these verses all the time, but the fact is… we aren’t doing a very good job of heeding their warning.
We Are What We Eat. What Diet Are You Feeding Your Sheep?
It has been said that the eyes are the window to the soul. I like to take it a step further. “The eyes and ears are the mouth to our soul. We have the choice what we feed ourselves, but once we choose to eat, we don’t get to choose the outcome of our chosen diet.” In other words, we are what we eat (spiritually as well as physically). Unfortunately, in the search for relevancy and their own entertainment, many church leaders, especially of the youth variety, are promoting artists with harmful messages. We are teaching our youth to go to the wolfs’ den for food.
What Message Are You Sending?
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen youth pastors use TV shows, pop musicians, etc. as intros to youth services, advertising for events, sermon illustrations, etc. Or, they will post their playlist on their Facebook page, or the new album that just came out. They’ll post pictures of them going to a particular movie or watching some TV show. They will joke with their students about the latest episode or song that promotes unholy ideals.
What do your sheep hear when they see this? “Oh, my pastor likes this artist! That must mean it’s safe to listen to. Or, oh, my pastor likes that TV show. If its okay for them to be entertained by that, it’s okay for me to be entertained by that.” Whether it is the intended consequence or not, when leaders give word of mouth advertising on behalf of these entertainers, the youth will view it as acceptable and generally safe. From here, the youth are made especially susceptible. If my spiritual leader does it and promotes it to me, it must be good.
What Message Are They Sending?
So what message are the youth hearing and viewing? The secular worldview: There is no God and even if their was, it would be either an afterthought or an evil being. There is no eternity – no heaven and hell. We are nothing but highly evolved animals. Ethics/ morality are relative, especially when it comes to sexuality. In fact, it is good to have lots of sex with lots of people and not take responsibility for those decisions. We don’t need God. We can be good without Him. These are only a few pieces of the worldview, but you get the point.
So while you may get them for two hours on a Wednesday night, they are spending roughly 9 to 1o hours per day absorbing these anti-Christian messages. What message does it send when you tell them on Wednesday night that they should wait to have sex until marriage, but then you laugh together about the latest episode of that show that promotes all sorts of unacceptable sexual exploits and lifestyles? What message does it send when your promo for your conference or event uses the music of an artist that teaches that women are objects to be used for pleasure? You may not use the clip that spreads that message, but your sheep now think that it is safe to eat from that wolf’s hand.
What Message Are They Not Receiving?
The problem with all this is that while we are telling youth that it is acceptable to be entertained by these sources, we are not training them how to analyze those sources for truth and deception. We have a society that has been intentionally dumbed down. We don’t know how to recognize the subtle entrance of anti-Christian philosophies that are fed to us thousands of times per day. If you teach your sheep to go to the wolf’s den for food, it’s only a matter of time before they don’t return from their nightly meal.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Should we be making light of (and promoting) messages that are contrary to God’s values? Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation.
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