I really love the students who are committed to the youth group, who show up regularly, contribute in meaningful ways, and especially appear to be demonstrating signs of spiritual growth. Those kids are typically easy to connect with because they appear to be genuinely interested in spiritual matters and investing into the life of the body of Christ.
So when that kid goes to college, fails to connect with a local church body, and becomes spiritually apathetic, I’m left scratching my head. I’d expect that from other kids (unfortunately), but not from this kid. What happened?
I wonder if I sometimes equate commitment to the church or youth group with commitment to Christ. Maybe the signs of spiritual growth I observed were actually social signs of conforming to the “spiritual pressure” of the church and youth group? Maybe the “growth” was more to please me, other leaders and their peers instead of Christ?
Obviously, I can’t be the ultimate judge on something like this, but it does leave me wondering: Are the teens and families I serve committing to me and the church or are they genuinely committed to Christ? And how can I tell the difference?
If they are committing to me and the youth group more than to Christ, what role do I play in enabling that?
What do you think?