Hurried Discipleship I disagree with the popular practice of involving young people in an intense regimen of Bible study, prayer, worship, leadership, evangelism and accountability where young people are challenged to “take the campus for Christ,”“be radical for Jesus,” and “give 110%.” I know; I know.How could any Bible-believing Christian not believe in a youth ministry that encourages young people to be “on fire for Jesus”? Well, of course I’m in favor of young people knowing Jesus.What I’m not in favor of is young people doing Jesus because what most youth-oriented discipleship programs are about is doing—reading the Bible, praying, worshipping, attending, leading, and evangelizing with no mention of intimacy, waiting, listening, noticing, and paying attention. Youth-oriented discipleship programs have reduced disciples to cheerleaders and political organizers. Discipleship has been turned into a measurable, external activity instead of an immeasurable, internal lack of activity. Spending time evangelizing has replaced spending time with Jesus, and sharing our faith with others has replaced growing in our faith with Jesus. But there is another, more serious problem. Young people are…well…young, which means they are immature, confused by their hormones, inexperienced, naïve and idealistic. None of these qualities are “bad”; in fact, they are wonderful gifts of youth that are needed in the church, but they are not neutral. Simply put, discipleship is a lifelong process, not a youth activity. Remember when you were a little child and you dressed up in your parents’ clothes? Such antics were cute, but clearly the clothes didn’t fit. Young people are being asked to dress up like disciples, but the clothes don’t fit. How could they? The Bible was written by adults, men who’d lived long lives, men who’d suffered greatly for their faith and the conclusions they reached had been squeezed out of pain and heartbreak and failure. We impose our adult views of discipleship on young people who couldn’t possibly understand what it all means. They haven’t lived long enough. But in a culture where youth is worshipped and idolized by adults, where young people are called young adults, where young people are portrayed in the media as wise, untainted gurus of insight, it’s no wonder we convince young people that they’re the hope of the world. Funny…I thought Jesus was the hope of the world.

source: Mike Yaconelli, a "Dangerous Wonder" column from Youthworker Journal tags: Discipleship, Teenagers, Campus Ministry, Youth Ministry