What Shall We Do When Youth Get Bored?

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Excerpt from:
Kurt Marquart, "Liturgical Commonplaces," Concordia Theological Quarterly: Volume 42, Number 4 (October 1978): 343.

What then shall we make of the idea that "the youth" get bored with sameness and therefore require constant innovations to keep them interested? The sentiment is well-meaning enough but is essentially misguided. It is true that initially some silly youngsters (by no means all) may enjoy having the service turned into a variety show, especially one that is flattering to the inane Youth Cult images promoted by the media for profit. In the long term, however, such an approach is bound to produce conscious or subconscious contempt for the church. Who, after all, could respect an institution, which is after two thousand years' experience, so confused about its functions as to say: "Dear children, help us!  We are no longer sure about what we ought to be doing.  Perhaps you might have some good ideas?"  Who could possibly take seriously the play-worship prefixed with that horrid word, 'experimental'?

The fact is that no healthy, viable society lets its children arbitrate its values.  It is for the elders of the tribe to guard its cultural heritage and to transmit it solemnly to the younger generation - never vice versa.  Also in our society the problem is not with the youth but with their elders.  If youth are confused about values, it is mainly because their parents are.  If the liturgy is boring to children it is usually because the parents do not find it very interesting either.  If children saw adults treating the Sunday Service as the most important activity of their lives, they would respect it too, and would never dream of treating it as a pop-event, to be tinkered with by every Tom, Dick, and Harry.  A church which has won the conscientious loyalty of parents - particularly fathers (Eph. 3:15, 6:4) - will have the devotion of their children too.  But a church which abjectly capitulates to the whims and tastes of adolescents will have, and deserve, neither. 

To read more on this subject:
A New Discovery On How To Keep Youth In Church

Something Bigger Than Ourselves

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