Today on the broadcast, pastor Voddie Baucham shares why our current approach to youth ministry is failing and tells parents why they are better equipped to disciple the next generation than the youth pastor.
Today on the broadcast, pastor Voddie Baucham shares why our current approach to youth ministry is failing and tells parents why they are better equipped to disciple the next generation than the youth pastor.
Bob: Dr. Voddie Baucham want us, as parents, to raise our sons and daughters to have a passionate love for Christ. It is fundamentally, he says, our responsibility.
Voddie: Whose job is it to evangelize my children? The church? No, it's mine. Which means that, at best, any youth ministry that's going to exist at all had better have a mission statement that says, "We exist to equip and assist parents as they do what God called them to do and not the church."
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, October 2nd. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Today we'll talk about the crucial role we play as parents in helping our children cultivate a heart for God.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Monday edition.
Dennis: I'm a little late.
Bob: You are a little late. I was already starting the program. What are you – you brought in – that's a – oh, that's your –
Dennis: I had to go get it for this broadcast today.
Bob: I know why you had to go get for today's program.
Dennis: I want to describe this for our listeners. This is about two and a half feet long, it's about – it really looks like a pregnant football.
Bob: That's a good description.
Dennis: It is, but it's a hornet's nest, and, I mean, this was a good bunch.
Bob: Where did you find this hornet's nest?
Dennis: This was the New York City hornets. I bought this off eBay.
Bob: You bought a hornet's nest on eBay.
Dennis: A number of years ago I spoke to a pastor's convention in Orlando, and based upon what I was going to do that day, it reminded me of my childhood when I threw a rock or two at a hornet's nest, and I brought this in and rock, and I told them I was their friend, but I was about to stir up the hornets. And based upon today's broadcast we …
Bob: You just thought you ought to get the hornet's nest out of the closet, didn't you?
Dennis: I don't have my five smooth stones. We're not slaying any giants, but we are throwing a stone or two at a hornet's nest, because we're going to talk to a group of – well, actually, we're going to play a portion of a message given to a group of Southern Baptists in – wasn't it Houston, Texas?
Bob: It was in Texas. I don't know if it was in Houston or not but a very similar situation. This was a pastor's gathering, and Tim LeHaye had been scheduled to speak and, for whatever reason, had to cancel. And so they called on one of their own – Dr. Voddie Baucham, who is a pastor from suburban Houston.
Dennis: And I listened to this message, Bob, and I think all of our listeners need to put on one of those beehive suits.
Bob: A protective suit?
Dennis: A protective suit, because Voddie is a preacher, and I'll tell you what, I resonate with what he's saying, obviously, or we wouldn't be featuring his message here on our broadcast. But he's speaking to the leadership of several Southern Baptist churches, and we might want to add here at this point, we are totally for the Southern Baptists and the Southern Baptist Convention. They are good friends and comrades in the battle for the family and the proclamation of the Gospel, and he is, too.
Bob: That's right.
Dennis: He is a friend. They asked him to fill in. But I'm going to tell you something, he could have had use of this hornet's nest, Bob.
Bob: He speaks the truth in love as he speaks to them on the subject of youth and evangelism, and he's not just talking to pastors. He's talking to all of us as parents, as well, because he's saying that the church and the family need to be in lockstep if we're going to raise a generation of young men and women who really follow passionately after Christ. Let's go ahead and listen. This is part 1 of Voddie Baucham's message to the Texas Southern Baptist Pastors.
Voddie: You know, there are two sides of my life – there's this one side where cultural apologetics is what I live and breathe and teach and preach, and there's the other side where I'm Bridget's husband and Jasmine and Trey and Elijah's father and, by the way, we have another baby who will be here any day now. So God continues to be good to us.
And there is a place where these two parts of my life merge. I want to share something with you tonight that has been sobering to me. The place where these two things merge is here, and I'm not real big on statistics, but I just need to share a few things with you to paint a picture, and I want to do the best that I can to let you know where these things come from. Those of you who know me, know that I am – it just pains me to ever have any notes when I preach. I just can't do it. I just can't have any notes, but I had to have some things here so I can tell you exactly where this information comes from and where you can go and find it.
One is this – that we are losing a generation, and we're losing that generation rapidly. For instance, depending on where you look, we're losing somewhere between 75 and 88 percent of our young people by the end of their freshman year in college – somewhere between 75 and 88 percent. For that low number, you can look at Glenn Schultz's work on Kingdom Education; for that high number, the 2002 Southern Baptist Council on the Family. So these are not things just made up or just grabbed out of the air. That's what's been happening over the last few decades. We're losing somewhere between 75 and 88 percent of our young people by the end of their freshman year in college.
There are a lot of you in here, and you're upset about the whole emerging church movement, you're upset about Brian McClaren and some of the theology that he's espousing. I don't like much of the theology that's coming out of the emerging church movement, but can I tell you what the impetus is behind the emerging church movement. Twenty-somethings are gone. The emerging church movement is saying, "What do we do to recapture this age group?"
By the way, if you look around, you'll see that we have a generation gap among Southern Baptists, and it's time that we got honest about it, and part of it's because of what I'm telling you. Hold on, though, I'm not finished painting the picture.
In our culture, in America, for the first time, our birth rate is below replacement rate. Replacement rate is 2.1 children per family. We're at 1.9. Now, we're not as bad as much of the industrialized world. For example, in France, I think they're around 1.5 children per family. In Italy, there's somewhere around 1.1 children per family. Now, in case you don't understand what that means, what that means is, we're not having enough children for our culture to continue to survive. Our culture is dying, one generation at a time.
Now, let me put skin on that for you – France, they have a birth rate of about 1.5. However, there are North African Muslims and Arab Muslims who have immigrated into France, and we saw some unrest because of those folks. Their birth rate is about six children per family. Which means in two generations, France will be a Muslim nation by sheer numbers alone. Why? Because they want prosperity more than they want children.
And it's the same for us. Now let me put these two pieces of statistical information together – at two children per family, Southern Baptists, because we're no better than the rest of the culture on this – our attitude toward children is "a boy for me and a girl for you and, praise the Lord, we're finally through."
Amen. It's an unwritten rule that you can only have two kids. However, there is one exception to the unwritten rule where you can have a third child, and that is if your first two children were the same sex, you get to try one more time for the other.
That's the unwritten rule. We despise children in our culture. We despise children in the Southern Baptist Convention. You don't believe me? Find a woman with six or seven kids and follow her into a Southern Baptist church, and watch the way we mock her, watch the way people who don't even know her come up to her and say, "Haven't you guys figured out how that happens yet?"
Now let me put these two statistics together. We lose 75 – let's take the most optimistic number – we're losing 75 percent by the end of their freshman year in college. We average two children per family – that means it currently takes two Christian families in this generation to get one Christian into the next.
Let me make it even more plain – there's 16 million Southern Baptists on paper.
By these numbers, next generation, 4 million; third generation, 1 million; fourth generation, 250,000 – more than numbers now, aren't they? Oh, but that's okay, we'll just replenish those numbers through evangelism. Interesting – in order to replenish those numbers through evangelism alone, what we would have to do is reach three lost people for every one Christian. Currently, we only reach one lost person for every 43 Southern Baptists.
Now let me make it plain and bring it home – Christianity in America is dying one generation at a time, one home at a time. Christianity is dying. Among the Jewish community, the same thing is happening. Two scholars, Anthony Gordon and Richard Horowitz have done a study on what's happening in the Jewish community and listen to what they say. The research targeted three key quantifiable elements of Jewish survival – intermarriage rates, it's believers marrying other believers instead of non-believers so that they lose the faith; birth rates; and levels of Jewish education. When all these factors are tabulated and correlated, a troubling picture emerges of the future of American Jewry. Skyrocketing intermarriage rates, declining birth rates, and inadequate Jewish education continue to decimate the American Jewish people. We're right behind them.
There was a front-page article in The Wall Street Journal just yesterday about Zoroastrians in India. Now, what do Zoroastrians in India have to do with anything? I'll tell you – here is what they were saying in the article – front page article in The Wall Street Journal – because of low birth rates and because people are getting married later and having fewer children than ever before, the Zoroastrian religion is about to be wiped off the face of the planet simply because they're not having kids and retaining the kids that they have.
You smelling what I'm stepping in? What has been our answer – here's been our answer – our answer has been to divorce ourselves from the issue and hire youth pastors to make it better. That's been our answer. By the way, Alvin Reid, in his book, "Raising the Bar," makes this observation – "Over the last 30 years, we have seen the largest increase in the number of professional youth ministers, youth ministry degrees being handed out, and para-church organizations designed to reach youth, and we have seen the greatest decline in youth baptisms ever."
Let me make this statement, and then I'll back it up. While you open your Bibles to Ephesians, chapter 6, let me make this statement – our current approach to youth ministry, number one, is unbiblical; number two, is antithetical to what the biblical model is for the evangelization and discipleship of young people; and, number three, it doesn't work. Let me recap – number one, our current approach is unbiblical. I'm going to show you that.
Number two, our current approach is actually antithetical to the biblical model. It's one thing for something to not be found in the Scripture, it's another thing for something to actually work against what is clearly found in the Scripture. And, number three, which shouldn't be surprising at all, it doesn't work. Or do I need to say it again? Seventy-five to 88 percent is our current failure rate.
Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 1 through 4 – I want to show you from the Scripture the centrality of the home in the evangelism and discipleship of the next generation – the centrality of the home in the evangelism and discipleship of the next generation. God has a plan for multi-generational faithfulness. That plan is the family. Unfortunately, many of the things that we currently involve ourselves in actually work against God's plan of the family. And so currently what we're doing is we're actually – this is – let me give you, for example, when I say that what we're doing is unbiblical – let me give you what we say is the goal of many of our youth ministries. What we say is this – the youth ministry at so-and-so Baptist Church exists to evangelize teenagers, to disciple them, and to equip them to go and evangelize other teenagers.
Two problems with that – number one, nine times out of 10 we never mention parents, and, number two, it's not your job. Whose job is it to evangelize my children? The church? No, it's mine. Whose job is it to disciple my children? The church? No, it's mine, which means that, at best, any youth ministry that's going to exist at all had better have a mission statement that says, "We exist to equip and assist parents as they do what God called them to do and not the church.
It's one thing to me to make that statement, but I want you to just take my word for it. Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 1 through 4 – "Children, obey your parents and the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother, which is the first commandment, with a promise – that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." The centrality of the home and the evangelism and discipleship of the next generation – the centrality of the home.
Now, please note, there's a difference because what's happening now is people are looking at the data, and a lot of our youth ministry programs are now moving toward ministry, youth, and their families, and so we were saying the kids are ours, and it's our job to evangelize them, our job to disciple them, and our job to mobilize them. Now we say it's still our job, but we want parents to help us. That's still the wrong answer.
"Well, brother, but you don't understand. These families out there, they're not doing it." Isn't that interesting? For 30 years here's what we've been telling them – "We're trained professionals, please don't try this at home.
"You don't understand your kids, your kids don't like you, trust me, just drop them off now." And now we're mad because they're doing what we've taught them to do for 30 years, which means if we want to lead children toward being spirit-filled, we don't lead them toward the youth pastor, we lead them toward Mom and Dad, because the measure of their yielding to the spirit of God is whether or not when their parents say something, they do what they're told when they're told and with a respectful attitude. That's what obedience is.
So, number one, we see the centrality of the home in the context here. He says, "You want to take the spiritual temperature of a young person, you take the spiritual temperature of young person by whether or not they are submissive to the authority of their parents." That's the authority in their life. That's the spiritual authority in their life. The spiritual authority in my child's life is me. The spiritual authority in your child's life is you, which means anything that the church does had better not rob spiritual authority from Mom and Dad.
Bob: Well, that is Dr. Voddie Baucham speaking to a group of pastors in Texas, Southern Baptist Pastors, and we had to turn your mike down while the message was being played so we didn't have folks here and you shout "Amen," and "Preach it," and …
Dennis: I'll tell you the first time I heard this message, I was driving in my truck. I was saying, "Thank you, God, for Voddie Baucham." I mean, he's a truth-speaker, and he was sharing with the right group of people.
And, you know, here is the issue, folks. We are in a battle for the next generation, and, truthfully, the church is a key player in this whole process. It needs to reflect on how it's replacing families and what a family needs to be doing and stop replacing and doing its work for it and instead equip families, equip moms and dads and grandparents to do their responsibility, to do their duty and to take on the sharing of the Gospel, talking to our children about Jesus Christ and to realize, you know what? No, you, as a parent, haven't been to seminary, but you don't have to go to seminary to introduce your son or daughter to God.
You, more than likely, if you've been going to church for any length of time, have got enough knowledge about who God is, and if you don't, you need to crack open your Bible and get introduced to Him yourself so you can take your child's hand in yours, and you can put your child's hand in God's hand and introduce them together and say, "Son or daughter, who is God is and here is how you have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ." Evangelism of the next generation needs to begin at home, period.
Bob: And, as you said, it doesn't require that somebody be specially trained to do it, but it does require some time and some intentionality, and I think, as I look at families today, often, the intentionality is not there. We're distracted by other things that I would say, in the end, we would conclude were lesser things, and we're just busy.
And so we wind up not doing as moms and dads what we really do want to be doing, long term, as we raise our children.
Dennis: That's exactly right, Bob, and one of the things that I did a number of years ago is I wrote a book called "One Home at a Time," and it's really all about restoring the soul of America through God's plan for the family, and I think every father, mother, husband and wife ought to have a copy of this book to understand what their primary roles are in, first of all, their relationship with God; secondly, their marriage covenant; third, their relationship with their spouse and how they operate as husbands and wives, moms, and dads; and then, fourth, about how to leave a spiritual legacy of vitality to the next generation.
And this book spells it out. It talks about where the battle is and how you can begin to assume responsibility in your own home.
Bob: We have copies of the book, as you might expect, in our FamilyLife Resource Center, and I agree, if our listeners have not read this book, it's very clarifying. It helps us focus on the right stuff as husbands and wives, as moms and dads, and as we seek to pass along our faith to the next generation. You can go on our website at FamilyLife.com. You'll see a red button in the middle of the home page. If you click that button, it will take you right to a site where you can get more information about the book, "One Home at a Time." You can order online if you'd like.
You'll also find information about Voddie Baucham's book, which is called "The Everloving Truth," and the subtitle is, "Can Faith Thrive in a Post-Christian Culture?" I just talked to my son who is in his first year on the university campus, and he said, "I'm starting to see it, Dad, in classes. I'm starting to see things that are – well, they just represent a departure from the faith he's grown up in."
Voddie's book helps us, as parents, help our young people to know how you can stand for truth in a culture that is drifting away from the whole concept of absolutes and biblical authority. Again, the book is called "The Everloving Truth." There is more information about it on our website at FamilyLife.com and, of course, if you are interested in a copy of Voddie's message that we're featuring this week on FamilyLife Today, you can order that from us as well.
Again, the website is FamilyLife.com. Click the red "Go" button in the middle of the screen, and that will take you right to the site where you can get more information about these resources. Order online, if you'd like, or, if you'd prefer to call, the number is 1-800-FLTODAY, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and we'll make arrangements to have other resources that you want sent to you.
Speaking of CDs, your wife, Barbara, recently gave a message to a group of women that got a great response – a message on what a woman, what wife can do to help her husband step up to manhood; how she can help him be the man that God wants him to be. This month we wanted to make a copy of that CD, Barbara's message on that subject, available to any of our listeners who contact us here at FamilyLife Today and make a donation of any amount. We are listener-supported as a ministry, and those donations from listeners make it possible for this program to continue on this station and on stations all across the country. So we thought this month we would say thank you to those of you who can help us with a donation of any amount by sending a copy of this CD from Barbara Rainey. In fact, this is a message that we have never featured on FamilyLife Today, and we ought to do that sometime here in the future.
If you'd like a copy of Barbara's CD called "Helping Your Husband Step Up to Manhood," you can make a donation online at FamilyLife.com. When you get to the keycode box, as you fill out your donation form, just type in the two letters, "CD" and that's how we'll know that you want a copy of this sent out to you, or call 1-800-FLTODAY, make a donation over the phone. Again, that's 1-800-358-6329, mention that you're interested in the CD from Barbara Rainey when you make your donation and, again, we'll be happy to send it out to you. We want to say thank you in advance for your ongoing financial support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
Well, tomorrow we're going to hear part 2 of Dr. Voddie Baucham's message that we're featuring this week on FamilyLife Today. Tomorrow he really keys in on the priority of honoring parents if we do, in fact, want to raise a godly generation. We'll talk about that tomorrow. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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