I believe we should not have children or youth workers. Now, before you close your browser, hear me out.
From my own experiences as a young person and someone working in churches I have seen children/youth workers act as a quick fix, a bandage over a wound and even a placebo in churches trying to fix a big issue and not just a scratch on the surface. If you had a broken leg you would not just use a bandage, you’d get an x-ray, maybe have some metal pins put into your leg, have a cast fitted, do physio etc. So why do we do that as church? The body of Christ?!
Churches have many reasons for employing a children/youth worker:
- Because they want to attract children and youth
- They have children and youth but don’t know what to do with them
- It is the trendy thing to do
- The pastor is over capacity and a children/youth acts as a pastor for the younger generations
- To run all the outreach programmes of the church
For all of these I think there is one underlying problem that needs to be managed and it is as simple as this.
The church is not being church.
If I understand church right, it is not a space of employment, business, career or volunteering. Church is family. You don’t employ someone to be a grandparent to a child or someone to be a brother or sister, they just are. These family members play important roles and they do it from a place of love, care and obligation. You cannot volunteer to be a brother or sister, it is the unit into which you are born. If you become a Christ-follower, you are born into a new family unit, one in which you are a brother/sister, aunty/uncle, parent or grandparent. Building relationships with those in your family is not a voluntary thing, not something you do if you have a bit of free time or because no-one else wants to. It is the joint responsibility of everyone in the family of God to care for everyone in the family of God and not just a person paid by tithing of the church to be the responsible person.
I have seen churches step back from working with children and young people because they put someone in that salaried position. I implore you to take a stand, to create a true family of God in which relationships are built between the ages, where every person has value in the community no matter their age.
How do you spell church? F-A-M-I-L-Y.