Top Ten Bad Fruits Of Youth Culture

Jesus makes it clear that he who does anything to “cause the least of these” to stumble “it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2). By gratifying the natural desire of youth to be with other youth and giving them what they want, even though it is destructive, we are depriving them of the mentors they need. For some, this will mean delayed maturity. For others, it may mean they will never put away childish things their whole life long. When we put children into environments that cause them to stumble, we become guilty. Jesus maintains such a high view of youth that He issues a terrifying warning to all who would cause them to stumble.

Ask yourself and honestly answer, “Do age-segregated environments cause youth to stumble? Do they cause them to be sober-minded as Scripture commands? Do they cause them to mature? Do they protect them from immorality? Do they prepare them for marriage? Do they promote taking captive every thought to Christ?” After more than three decades of participating in and observing modern youth ministry, I can easily answer yes to the first and no to the rest of these questions. In fact, the Scripture clearly warns that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child” (Pro. 22:15), and that “the companion of fools suffers harm” (Pro. 13:20). In this sense, Scripture has already informed us that gathering foolish youth together will corrupt them. This is not an argument against godly friendships among youth. It is, however, a stinging condemnation of the unprincipled youthful relationships which develop in an age-segregated youth ministry environment.

Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!” (Luke 17:1).*

For the past fifty years, we have lived in a culture where churches freely facilitate youth culture. Has it produced good fruit or bad fruit?  Here is my list of the top ten bad fruits that result from the cultivation of youth culture:

  1. Foolishness is cultivated and multiplied, Prov. 13:20
  2. Christian parental nurture is replaced by youth influence, Eph. 6:1-4
  3. Peer dependence is acquired, 1 Kings 12:8
  4. Immaturity is made socially acceptable, Prov. 22:15
  5. Dishonor of parents is provoked, Prov. 10:1; 15:20
  6. Wasted time through “hanging out” is praised, Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5
  7. Unprofitable conversations are multiplied, Ps. 141:3; Matt. 12:36
  8. Irresponsibility is modeled, Prov. 22:7; Gal. 6:7-8
  9. Multiple guy/girl romances and breakups create patterns of mini-divorces, Prov. 24:27
  10. Consciences are defiled through virtual and real fornication, Acts 15:20; 1 Cor. 6:18

*from A Weed in the Church, 3rd printing, 129-130.