Is Youth Ministry Biblical?

by Dale Partridge

In the late 1800s, Bishop J.C. Ryle once said, “Experience supplies painful proof that traditions once called into being are first called useful, then they become necessary. At last, they are too often made idols, and all must bow down to them or be punished.” Bishop Ryle offers a sharp observation of how useful practices can become required customs.

As a church, we have seen this narrative occur in the practice of youth ministry or children’s church. What was first developed as an outreach solution for London’s orphan population has become a mainstream custom in the churches of modernity. You’ve seen it a hundred times or more—Christian families park their cars, unbuckle car seats, unpack strollers and begin walking toward the church building. But then, something strange happens—like a fork in the road, the kids will run to the right while the adults go to the left. Without even noticing it, the church has divided the family.

In this episode of Real Christianity, Dale Partridge looks at the practice of youth ministry and compares it against the call of Scripture. Is youth ministry biblical or extra-biblical? Is youth ministry helpful or harmful? Find out as we unpack this important topic.

Additional Resources

Scripture References

  • Deuteronomy 6:5-7

    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

  • Ephesians 6:4 

    “And, you fathers, don’t provoke your children to anger: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

  • Proverbs 22:6

    “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

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After watching or listening to this episode, what is your opinion? Do you have any questions or comments? Maybe you have something to add to the discussion? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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