The Youth Are Craving Simplicity: An Unchanging God Expects Unchanged Biblical Worship in an Ever Changing World
“I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?” 2 Corinthians 12:18
Growing up in the Primitive Baptist Church I always knew we were a different group of believers. Always committing ourselves to maintaining the pattern of worship outlined in the New Testament was something I understood and knew to be exclusive to the Primitive Baptists. Even though I understood why we did not have the things that other churches had (e.g. Sunday schools, youth groups, worship bands, etc.) it was always difficult for my friends in other churches (who participated in the attractions listed above) to conceive the idea that a church like the one I attended and loved was worth visiting. Perhaps that was more of a misconception in my mind than it was in theirs.
The world can be attractive and a thing desired, but to whom? Not to God. Not to the spirit which is born of God. It is attractive to the flesh. The rotten, depraved, corrupt nature that was guilty of sin the moment it was conceived. The flesh lusts after the things of the world and there is no greater tool that Satan uses than the attractions of the world to give your flesh something to fall down at and worship.
Yeah, so, what does the Satan have to do with Sunday schools, youth groups, and worship bands? Good question. Originally these things were viewed, and still are by many, as being good and safe ideas to not only attract younger people into the church, but to keep them interested, and not only the youth, but I’ve known many parents of other churches claim to feel a comfort that their churches have these attractions. The problem is that these have drawn the attention of the younger folks (and their parents) and it has been done without any God-given authority. The church of Jesus Christ has not been authorized by Christ to allow worldly attractions into His house. This has happened because the adults of the church have been deceived, plain and simple.
Why do I say the adults have been deceived? The duty of keeping the world out of the church falls on the adults (i.e. the elders, deacons, members) and should be looked at as a group effort to maintain a Biblical pattern. The stewards whom the church has been given to is guilty of believing the Biblical pattern of worship is not enough to attract and retain the youth of today. I believe these people are wrong–dead wrong. In fact, I have witnessed otherwise in an amazing trend. I have seen an in-gathering of several college-age people, products of the Sunday schools, youth groups, and worship bands, into the simplest of places, the Primitive Baptist Church. It has been amazing to hear the stories of why these 20-somethings are so excited about the Primitive Church, and the answer is stunning—simplicity. Story after story reveals that what drove them away from other churches were the things the adults thought would attract them and keep them from leaving. The worldliness that has invaded so much of the denominational world and the commercialism that churches have embraced has actually grossed-out these young people.
I do not say these things to point a finger and blame others, nor to create anger or hostility toward other groups. I love them for Christ’s sake. However, I hope there is a lesson learned in all of this, not just for Primitive Baptist’s but for any Christian. That the belief that something more than the gospel is needful for the attraction and retention of the young is a horribly unauthorized idea and it is not a new one. Paul asked the Corinthian church (a church that had many unauthorized novelties within it) if Titus, and the fellow-laborer who came unto them, walked any differently and took any steps contrary to what the Apostle Paul did. Paul knew the answer, it was “no”. Titus walked in the same spirit and in the same steps as Paul. Scripture instructs that we should do the same. Today, nearly 2000 years later, do we think we have gotten any more intelligent than the God-inspired Apostles? Do you think Christ has left something out of His Bible? Do you not trust that if we follow His word then the gates of hell will not prevail against the church you attend? What do we have to fear? Stick to the gospel. Stay the course of simple, Bible-based, unadulterated, holy, Christ-centered worship.
It has been my experience that the young people of today are tired of the attractions of the world. What they are craving is simplicity. The reason why they are craving it is because their newborn spirits want Jesus and him only, just as ours do. Therefore, I believe that if there are some young people that I know who are craving simplicity in my part of the world, that THERE MUST BE MORE. As adults, we should give the younger what their spirits crave—simplicity. Give them Jesus.
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3