Baby Food?…………………………..Wes Black

Are we serving baby food?

Can you remember your first years away from home when you had to make your own decisions, wash your own clothes, balance your checkbook, and make a ton of other mistakes before you learned how to grow up? Or, was that just me?

I have a hunch a lot of youth are graduating from our ministries and they still have a lot to learn about living their faith on their own. In many ways they are still spiritual babies, like Paul mentioned in 1 Cor. 3:2a, “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.” (NIV)

Could it be that we are feeding our youth spiritual baby food instead of solid food in our ministries?

I wonder how many youth leaders are content if they have a core of youth who simply attend church or youth group often.

I wonder how many youth leaders are content if they have a growing number of youth and they can show that attendance is larger than last year.

I wonder how many youth leaders are content if the calendar is full of activities.

The Exemplary Youth Ministry study discovered some things that congregations were doing that produced more mature Christian youth. The 44 assets emerging from that study show that it’s not about building an exciting, attention-grabbing youth group. It’s about building a youth ministry with the goal of producing more mature Christian youth.

Let’s stop feeding them baby food!

Wes Black is professor of student ministry and associate dean for the PhD Program in the School of Church and Family Ministry, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX, and a member of the original EYM leadership team.

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