Question and Answer

How should we reach young people?

Question:

Should we reach out to youth using methods that appeal to them, such as "Christian" rock music?

Answer:

I don't know that there is any dogmatic answer to your question about using things like Christian rock to reach out to unsaved young people. In my own experience, whether it is Vacation Bible School, a movie discussion night, and a free meal, people may take advantage of what is offered yet have little interest in the gospel message presented with it.

We have young people inviting their friends to worship services and sitting under the preaching of the gospel. The preaching of the gospel is still is the most powerful tool of all (Rom. 10) because we have God's promises to bless it.

Music is a powerful medium and often the experience of the music, the crowds, being part of something exciting, overshadows the message. If the music is an enticement so the gospel can be presented, is that a "bait and switch"? I've had fun at the concerts and I understand that music is the "language" of the youth culture, but separating the emotions and excitement from the message can be difficult.

I do believe that in spite of the talk of "generational gap", and that the "old ways" won't work in today's youth culture, we are all, regardless of age, basically in the same boat. We are fallen image-bearers, made to worship God, yet in rebellion against Him and therefore never at peace, whether we are 16 or 66, when we are separated from our Creator. Since that is the case we will all need the same thing, to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. God may be pleased, and I'm sure has used Christian rock music to accomplish His purposes but that doesn't change the fundamental truth that it is the Word of God which is swift and powerful to cut to the heart of our rebellion (Heb. 4:12).

Young people need to know that they were made for something more than themselves, that is, for the glory of God (Is. 26:8). And that message needs to be communicated by those who believe and hope in the message themselves, they are saved by grace having deserved nothing but judgment. That gives the basis for loving young people and the combination of the Word of God communicated by those who are living out the gospel, and loving young people and calling them to something bigger than themselves is a more powerful combination than any concert.


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