CLERGY CORNER: Over entertained and under challenged!

Posted on 11 April 2019 by LeslieM

It’s been many years since I first heard Andy Stanley make the statement, “Today’s teenagers are over entertained and under challenged.” His sermon, preached at First Baptist Church of Atlanta, was addressing the way so many churches were approaching student ministry and measuring success by the numbers. His observation was correct back then, and it is still correct today.

In a church culture that measures success almost solely by numbers, it only makes sense that youth pastors are prone to entertaining students and striving to gather the masses in order to be viewed as successful. Sadly, the same entertainment mentality is true with adults. Too many adults choose a church based on the length of the services, whether the church has a softball team, how humorous the pastor is, and whether or not they like the music. These superficial factors show the shallowness plaguing the Christian church today.

The long-term effects of the entertainment focus in ministry can be seen in the spiritual adolescence prevalent among today’s believers. We are in dire need of discipleship. The effectiveness of discipleship can be measured by whether or not those who call themselves disciples begin to disciple others. In essence, the student should eventually become the teacher. But, how is someone who has been over entertained and under challenged supposed to gain the knowledge necessary to teach? The Apostle Paul describes this dilemma in Hebrews 5:12-14 NIV“ In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Not only has the focus on entertainment in ministry caused a shallowness of knowledge, but it has also resulted in fewer people being exposed to real ministry opportunities. Churches used to “do“ ministry, go on mission trips, serve their communities, and impact their world. That exposure to ministry often resulted in growing churches and people surrendering to become vocational ministers. Today, fewer people are entering vocational ministry, seminary enrollment has declined nationally, as well as church attendance across denominational lines. The common denominator is that too many church-goers have been and continue to be over entertained and under challenged.

So, which word best describes the church you attend – “entertainment” or “discipleship?” It’s never too late to start challenging others to grow spiritually. Jesus challenged 12 men, and in just three years He prepared them to impact eternity! Think how different the world would have been if He only entertained them. Think how different our world could be, if today’s churches will rise up and challenge those who God has entrusted to us!

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Lead Pastor at Grace Church (501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach). Contact info: 954-421-0190 or
pastor@gbcfl.org.

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