The Rotten Fruit of the Church Growth Movement

Anyone who has attended a service at a Southern Baptist church with a child in tow in the past 15 or 20 years has probably had a similar situation to this. You and your spouse and child sit down in the pew. Before the service even begins, an eager man roughly the same age as the father approaches you in the pew. Then, the sales pitch starts.

“Hey, buddy! I noticed that you brought your child with you today! Hey! I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about Kids’ Church! It’s just like church, except it’s not boring and it’s just for kids! They play games and watch Veggie Tales – you know about Veggie Tales, right? They’re Jewish vegetables but they sing! And they never mention Jesus! And then at the end, there’s a really super-short age-appropriate Bible lesson! Anyway, I’d be happy to walk your daughter down to kids’ church right now! What, do you say, buddy?”

Or, if you have a teenager with you, the salesman will offer to drag him or her off to “Teen Church,” which will have some catchy acronym like IGNITE or SOARING EAGLE PATRIOTS. Many of the pastors following this modern “megachurch” model will rail in their sermons against ‘separating families at the border,’ while they cluelessly separate Christian families for what is supposed to be a holy, family-shared experience: the Sunday church service. This is how you end up with sex scandals in your church, like the one just highlighted by the Houston Chronicle.

The Chronicle details an exhaustive study of Southern Baptist Convention churches in Texas, in which pastors and especially “youth pastors” were involved in sexual misconduct or abuse cases. In a 20-year span, 380 pastors in Texas have victimized 700 people, often children or teens in their congregations. The Drudge Report highlighted the story and it is breathlessly written as if the Baptist scandal is worse than the recent Catholic scandals – even though the numbers of victims and abusers are not even close.

Before anyone accuses us of jumping on the bandwagon with the mainstream media to pick on Christian churches, we would note that we have also criticized the much-larger Catholic church molestation scandals here. See here, here and here. The Catholic church with its unbiblical celibacy requirements for priests has long been a magnet for homosexuals, who have much higher child abuse rates than the general population.

We have also noted that the Catholic and Protestant abuse scandals are absolutely dwarfed by the numbers of children who are sexually abused every year by illegal aliens. And we have also chronicled the fact that illegal alien abusers are a drop in the bucket when compared to the biggest child molestation group of all in America: Public school teachers.

Our point is not to pick on Baptists – it’s to pick on child molesters. Call us old-fashioned if you wish, but can’t we strive to have zero child molesters on staff in Protestant churches?

The Houston Chronicle blames the Southern Baptist Convention’s independent church model for the molestations. If only the SBC had a massive central government with an iron fist of control over all of its churches, this would never have happened, they claim! (Liberal solutions to every problem involve a bigger central government with more control.)

A more likely culprit is the modern “church growth” movement. The standard operating procedure for these churches is to separate children and teens from their families, for the above-mentioned “kids’ church” or “teen church.”

Christian parents should take note: Now that America has entered downward-spiraling post-Christian phase, ANY SYSTEM that seeks to lure children out from under the protective wing of their parents has the potential for abuse baked right into the cake.

There is no such thing as a “youth pastor” in the Bible. Wolves will always be attracted to the place where access to prey is easiest. There is no such thing as an “age-appropriate sermon.” If a pastor cannot tailor the message so that it speaks to every Christian in the congregation, that is not the Bible’s fault or the listener’s.

Parents can go into more detail with their kids at home later – but only if they hear the same message that the child hears. Parents at megachurches often have no idea what their children are being taught, because they’re in a separate room or even a separate building at the megachurch.

Does anyone else see the connection between separated families and the catastrophic drop-off of church attendance by younger generations? Kids are growing up and they never see how important church is to their parents. They were too busy watching Veggie Tales or swatting the youth pastor’s hand away from their knee. Mothers and fathers: Please recognize this family-separation policy for what it is, and adjust accordingly.

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