Christian parents, if you don’t already know it, we have a tremendous problem today, in regards to the widespread pressure to accept homosexuality.

I believe the widely promoted doctrine of  ‘tolerance’ is going to cause Christianity to become a stumbling block for most kids, causing them to reject it outright.   (At the end of this post, I will have a couple of suggestions for how to better position your child, so hopefully that doesn’t occur.)  Nevertheless, we must stand for truth–and the truth is that God does not accept homosexuality.

Some schools begin ‘tolerance’ training (of homosexuality, etc.) in kindergarten.  If they don’t, the peer group will, when one of the popular (or ‘alpha’) kids makes it a group rule for them.

There are all kinds of influences out there, including TV shows (for kids) that promote exploring their sexual identity.  There are kids whose ‘parents’ are a same sex couple.  There are others who have a brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, etc. who is gay or bisexual.  These families will have ‘educated’ their child about such alternative lifestyles at a much younger age than most Christian parents would dream of teaching their kids anything about sexuality!

The result of all this is that your child is learning about, and forming opinions about, homosexuality (‘and tolerance’) long before you would suspect. By the time you talk to your child about this, the ungodly have already presented them with the basic debate and their opinion will be swayed in that direction.

Homosexuality is a ‘line in the sand’ today, among nonChristians.  That is just as true for kids.

Homosexuality is popular today and, above all, most kids want to do what is  popular.  Your child has at least one friend or acquaintance at school that is homosexual, bisexual, or gender confused.  It has been found that most people support homosexuality once they learn that someone they care for is involved.

For this reason, for the average kid, a message in church against homosexuality is going to be a stumbling block to them.

Here’s what happens in your typical ‘seeker friendly’, all-inclusive youth group.  IF the youth pastor has the courage to speak to the kids, about homosexuality being wrong, the ‘alpha’ kids will get up and walk out . . . if that is permissible.  (Otherwise they will verbally instigate a ‘strike’ amongst the other kids, before the next meeting.)  Whatever an ‘alpha’ kid does, the other kids will quickly follow suit.

Most kids have two basic priorities, usually in this order:

  1. Fit in with the crowd at school
  2. Don’t get in trouble with Mom or Dad

(If you doubt that’s the order of their priorities, watch and see.  When push comes to shove, which risk do your kids prefer to take: disobeying you, or offending their friends?)

My bet is that 95-100% of the kids (whose parents allow them to decide), will drop out of the group, within a couple of weeks.  The kids whose parents would be supportive of the youth pastor will give their parents some plausible reason that they want to quit.

(I hope, if your child is talking about quitting, even if their reason sounds indisputable, that you would take the time to speak with the youth pastor and find out what his perspective on things is.  You just might learn that there is a lot more going on than when your child has chosen to mention.)

After the ‘alpha’ kids have made their statement, there are very few kids who will remain in such a group.  If you have a child who will stay, despite having heard the preaching against homosexuality, and despite their peers staging a mass walk-out, then you have an extraordinary child . . . one you can be extremely proud of . . . one who may be a true convert to Christianity.

The most troubling thing about this situation is that the kids have just learned to reject truth, and harden their hearts against it.  Many will never turn back to Christianity after this (peer group defined) ‘offense’.  So, should such controversial topics be avoided? By no means!!  In fact, I believe that they should be talked about much earlier.

I have great respect for any pastor, or youth pastor, who will tell the truth about homosexuality.  The cultural pressure against him is immense–not to mention the demonic opposition!  If your child’s youth pastor is one of these brave souls, I hope that you will firmly plant yourself in his corner–as well as convey your appreciation for what he is doing.

I also think it is important to teach your children (at an early age) that someday they will encounter teachers, other adults, friends, etc. who will not tell them the truth; that there are people who do things that are wrong, and are very stubborn about it; that some people do not want to please God or follow His rules; that someday people will try to get them to do things that are wrong and to stop trying to please God, etc.  Then, you will have set a foundation, so that you can begin to counter the influence of such people in their lives.

There is one other thing that I think deserves prayerful consideration:  the youth group your kids attend.  I’m sure there are many reasons for kids to attend a Christian youth group, and many different ways in which a family may decide which youth group in their community that the kids will attend.

The most popular reason for attending is likely for a social outlet.  It is yet another place that they can be with their peer group after school hours.  (There may also be parents having problems with their child who hope that such a group will be a good influence on their kid–but often it turns out the other way around.)

The most popular way of deciding which group?  Undoubtedly, the kids pick it.  (In fact, some families will let the child’s choice of youth group determine the church that their whole family will attend.)

Let me point out a couple of factors that I believe can actually cause a Christian youth group to do more harm than good, in the spiritual life of your child.

  1. If they attend a group close to home, they are most likely going to be amongst the same kids they attend school with.
  2. If it’s a big, all-inclusive group, most of the kids that attend have not made the decision to accept Christ as their savior.

Most likely a group close to home is going to favor your child’s comfort zone.  However, there is a well-defined social structure among their peer group from school.  Making sure they continue to follow the (peer) leader is going to interfere with their ability to be sensitive and obedient to spiritual promptings.  When push comes to shove, they will follow the crowd, rather than heed the promptings of the Spirit.

Rather than being able to have and develop, a personal (private) spiritual life, it is one more thing that is open to the observation and criticism of the kids they spend all day with.  If your child IS striving to follow Jesus, they may not have the deep spiritual roots needed to endure assaults on their new-found faith.

If the group is large, seeker-friendly, and all-inclusive, the ratio of kids to adults is just too large.   It will be the kids that run the group.  In a large group, the kids are too far removed from the youth pastor to develop a personal relationship with him.  Therefore, they will default to following their peer leaders from school.

While the youth pastor has the kids’ divided attention, he can speak to them for about half an hour.  But, if what he says contradicts that peer group’s values, for the next week the ‘alpha’ kids can regather their little flock and get them back in line.   Having access, at school, to the other kids in the group gives them ample opportunity to mock, scorn or criticize what the youth pastor said.

Hopefully this gives you a little better view into the dynamics of your child’s peer group, and the pressures that they face.  Armed with this knowledge, hopefully you can avoid some of the more common pitfalls, and wisely choose a youth group that will nurture them spiritually.

I urge you to consider a group that is primarily made up of those who have made a decision to follow Christ, or are sincerely seeking to learn more about Christianity.  Christian kids (especially) need opportunities to fellowship with other Christians– but if a youth group isn’t more or less limited to Christians, then it isn’t really filling that need.

Amongst kids, as amongst adults, only a small percentage truly want to follow Christ.  By creating large, seeker friendly, all-inclusive youth groups, we have brought the world inside the church.  But instead of the world becoming more like the church, the church has become more like the world.

By trying to meet the desires of the multitude, we create a virtual desert for those who really thirst for truth.  The few that are searching will hear a bland, powerless message geared to appeal to those who are there merely to socialize.  And sadly, they’ll go away dissatisfied, feeling that what they are looking for is not to be found in church.

I believe the most effective youth ministry is one that focuses on mentoring . . .  where each child can be close enough to a leader to form a relationship with them.  Here, amongst those that really are seeking Jesus, kids can lay aside the facade that they must wear at school all day, and they can open their heart and be vulnerable.

In this more personal setting, a foundation based on Biblical principles can be laid.  Here questions can be asked, truth can be shared,  struggles can be revealed, prayers can be sought, and refuge and support can be found.

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