I made an unsubstantiated, off-the-cuff, observation that the way other religions seem to engage their audience is through emotionalism (entertainment, singing, outbursts of “praise Jesus,” and more). Why, some 3 years later (now 2017), an article posted in December of 2014 is considered current, I don’t know. But the following did appear in the current feed in Flipboard under Apologists. It was an amalgamation of quotes compiled by Greg West. It was a few quotes from Nancy Pearcey that caught my attention for this new entry in my blog articles.
“Instead of addressing teens’ questions, most church youth groups focus on fun and food. The goal seems to be to create emotional attachment using loud music, silly skits, slapstick games -- and pizza. But the force of sheer emotional experience will not equip teens to address the ideas they will encounter when they leave home and face the world on their own.
“The only way teens become truly ‘prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks’ (1 Pet. 3:15) is by wrestling personally with the questions.”
But what is the effect that “fun and food” is having on the youth? The first quote in Mr. West’s list is from Brett Kunkle. Mr. Kunkle wrote: “The hemorrhaging of youth from our churches won’t stop until we get intentional about solving the problem. On the university campus, secular college professors are very intentional about indoctrinating your kids.” Was Mr. Kunkle exaggerating by using the phrase “hemorrhaging of youth from our churches”? I don’t think he was.
So, even though I hadn’t previously cited evidence of my claim, there you have it, from a woman acknowledged by her peers as a scholar and by a man who is a noted “apologist.”
By comparison, the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses are designed to be first of all educational. Second, engaging for all age groups. To address the individual needs of growing youth, parents are encouraged to study with their own children on an individual basis. But just as “it takes a village to raise a child,” members within the congregation willingly and readily befriend the youth to help reinforce the training the children are receiving. There are several active examples in the congregation I’m in at present. However, so as not to embarrass anyone, I’ll mention my own daughters (gone and married for some time now). Both were taken “under wing” by sisters in the congregation we were in at the time. My wife and I saw the wisdom in this because it helped our children to see that the things we were teaching them were reasonable. We expected that our children would open up to these fellow believers and we were glad when they did. In all this, we make every effort to apply the wise admonition from God himself, “These words that I am commanding you today must be on your heart, and you must inculcate them in your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:6, 7)