Youth Ministry Done Right

Acts 5:5 – And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

Acts 5:6 – And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

Acts 5:7 – And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

Acts 5:8 – And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.

Acts 5:9 – Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

Acts 5:10 – Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

Acts 5:11 – And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

Hello readers, youth ministry done right. Today I’m talking about young people, and young Christians… or more specifically young people raised in church. There’s nothing more dangerous than being raised in church. It can go really wrong. So many kids raised in church end up hopelessly rebellious and lost, and vaccinated against the cure for their sin by growing up in religion and gaining a deadly familiarity with holy things.

There’s something going badly wrong with much of today’s youth, and that includes the youth in churches. Modern churches often have a youth ministry, they have a youth group, they have a youth pastor. They even have a young people’s service. Or whatever, but there is this separate little category and distinct subculture within the church that deals with “youth”.

The Bible has a lot to say about “youth” and “young men”, just search those words in the Bible and it may surprise you. In fact it will, there’s some confronting truths in there, way more than I can cover today, but today you see that youth ministries are completely lacking. Youth ministries aren’t done God’s way. They’re not achieving any godly purpose at all. They’re not raising saved, faithful, and holy young men and women. They’re not teaching them God’s word. They’re not being built up in the faith. Instead they’re playing games, they’re swimming in the shallows not launching out into the deep, and they’re in all sorts of sin… even while at church. The youth are lost, plunged into the Nile rather than floating in the ark.

I saw something in Acts 5 recently that I’d never seen before. In the story of Ananias and Sapphira, a golden nugget of truth is found that you may easily miss each time you read this portion of scripture. Young men get a mention in this very serious passage of scripture. What were the youth doing in the early church? How do they compare to the youth in today’s churches with what they’re doing and being taught? Read this story and you find out how the young men were involved. The young men had to come in and cart the dead bodies of Ananias and Sapphira away and bury them. That’s pretty tough stuff, they’re too young to be exposed to and dealing with such matters! See, when you baby the next generation, when you pander to them, when you teach them that God isn’t who he says he is… you’re breeding the next generation of rebels.

In the early church, pastored by the Apostle Peter no less, what were they doing? Were they playing games? Playing religion? What were they learning, what were they being taught? Youth ministry in Acts looks a bit different to youth ministry today. Peter the youth pastor looks a bit different to the youth pastors of today. Peter didn’t gloss over sin, neither did he settle for lies, neither did he compromise on truth. He didn’t shield the young people from the real stuff.

Ananias and Sapphira had concocted a lie, they gave money to the church under a false pretense. And God killed them on the spot. Wow that’s harsh, that doesn’t sound like the love, love, love God in youth ministries today does it. We’re going to accept everyone, we’re going to be nice nice. Peter didn’t accept Ananias and Sapphira’s lies. But we’ve babied the youth, we haven’t taught them what they were being taught in Acts… that God is holy, that God is righteous, that God will judge sin, that God’s word is to be taken seriously, that God is worthy of our fear.

Ananias and Sapphira were trying to get the benefit of giving to the church and looking religious and looking like they were being moved by God and were saved… while also padding their pockets. They were doing what a lot of people do. Copycat Christianity. They were fakes. And they got exposed bad. They could’ve just sold their land and kept their money and that would’ve been fine. But when they come to Peter saying oh here’s our donation Peter, here’s what we got for our land… trying to look like and replicate what other people were doing to authenticate and validate themselves… that’s when their lies were called out and exposed.

You know what young people don’t like? Their lies being exposed. Young people are sinners. They need salvation like everyone else. They don’t need to be lied to… they need the truth. Ananias and Sapphira were liars. Their life, their salvation, their service… all a lie. So often we are teaching and training kids to be liars. Right from young they’re taught to lie in every facet of their life, and their entire life is a lie. Their faith is a lie. We are all born liars, and it’s not just the youth that need to be called out, we all need to be called out. God’s word will call you out, and God’s word is what is absent from most youth ministries today, because it’s not popular with the kids who want to just keep it casual and informal, to just have fun, play games and sin.

You’re not going to help your kids by hiding who God is from them. You’re not going to help your kids by trying to shelter them from the fear of God. You’re not going to help your kids by giving them a fake religion. A religion as pretentious as Ananias and Sapphira. So today, think about what those young men learnt as they came in and saw the dead bodies, as they picked the bodies up, as they’re digging the graves, as they’re lowering the bodies into the graves, as they’re filling the graves up… sweat pouring off them. It’s hard work shoveling a big hole in the ground. Yet this one thing they did would do more good for them than a life time in youth group that many church kids get today. How do you teach the youth the fear of God?

These young men learned the fear of God. You won’t help the young people by hiding the fear of God. They’ll develop the fear of God when they read the Bible, when they see who God is and what God did, does and will yet do. By seeing it be a reality in the church and in the lives of believers. You see, they’re watching what’s going on in the church. They’re reading the epistle of your life. What was going on in this early church was the Holy Spirit was moving. God’s word as being preached. There was persecution. But there was also blessing No this was not a fake move of the Spirit of God, but the real thing.

You’re not helping young people by pretending God isn’t the holy God that he is. God is worthy to be feared. Today’s kids say oh you can’t scare me with hell. Well congratulations, it’s not a scare tactic, hell is a real place, and hell is a fact, and hell lies at the end of every single Christ rejecting sinners life. That would scare you if you could see it, but right now you don’t.

Just because you were raised in church doesn’t mean you don’t need to be saved yourself. You’re not a little angel. Noone can get saved for you. Just because you’re raised around people who don’t necessarily do as bad as what people “out there” are doing doesn’t mean you aren’t depraved and don’t need to be saved. Kids growing up in church can tend to be raised in self righteousness, they think they’re pretty good… but newsflash, you’re a sinner. Don’t hide the fact we are sinners deserving of hell from the youth. Any godly standards and convictions you have aren’t because you’re good, it’s because God is holy. It’s because it’s a better way to live. So often we use morals and convictions as instruments of self righteousness. The Jews did that with the law. What was meant to show man his depravity instead became what man prided himself upon.

These young men learned that God isn’t a fool. God says what he means, and means what he says. You don’t get away with sin. You won’t ever get away with sin. It’s a matter of when, not if, it catches up with you. They learned that God has power. These guys died on the spot because God killed them. You know, God’s word has power, it can save you, or it will sentence you. You will be held to account for what you do in life with what God has given you. You won’t put your lies past God. You may try, and you may con mummy and daddy, but you won’t con God.

These young men quickly realized that salvation is serious business. You can’t be playing around in religion. Ananias and Sapphira were fakes. Life and death is at stake. Eternity is at stake. Your soul is at stake. They realized that money isn’t worth your life either. But we’ve been babying, mollycoddling and lying to the youth. That’s why they’ve rejected the faith. Because they’ve seen there is nothing to it. They see hypocrisy. They see the double standards. They see the pettiness. They see the contradictions. The youth aren’t idiots. And if you try and shield them from God, and shield them from truth, that’s the worst thing you can do to them. You know what’s better than you teaching them? God teaching them. And teach them he will when you give them the Bible, and when you do that, you’re giving them a foundation for life.

Look at this verse, Psalm 58:3 – “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” The sooner you get serious about what matters and what’s at stake, the better. Young people need to be taught the truth. They can handle it. It doesn’t mean they can’t have fun, but the most important thing is to remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. There’s nothing better you can do than serve God when you are young. Your youth is a gift from God, you can use it on yourself, or give it to God… and in doing so you will redeem it forever.

Young people, young men… they’re being lied to by their pastors. They’re not being given God’s word. They’re being shielded from the truth they NEED. The best thing you can do for someone is give them the truth. Don’t play games with young people’s souls. Your youth is very important, and how you spend it, and what you do with it will have far reaching effects. There are critical lessons which if learned young, will translate to an adulthood that will count for God.

You can make many bad mistakes in your youth which ruin your entire life. And young people are so wrecked before they’ve even grown up. Because the adults are being idiots, they’re not like Peter. You may think, oh Peter, how could you expose them to that. Oh you’re taking away their childhood, oh you’re taking away their youth, they should be just enjoying life and having adventures. Yeah you know better than Peter. Peter cares more for your youth, and so does God… than you do.

David was a youth when he killed Goliath, Samuel was a child when God spoke to him… and only to him… in the tabernacle. God didn’t speak to the old pros of religion anymore, he spoke a young man. Youths can be deadly arrows to the enemy in the quiver and bow of God. Don’t get in the way of that. Jesus said not to offend the little ones. You offend the little ones when you lead them astray with your rubbish instead of giving them the Bible, giving them the truth instead of having a little playworld of a ministry that does them ultimately no good.

Gideon had a son who was afraid to slay one of the Midianite kings, because he was a youth. I’m too young to do that. I can’t do that. He was a young fella, and where he could’ve drawn his sword and slain a mortal enemy and helped his family and his nation, he was scared to do so. It was too real for him. Give me back my legos and dinosaurs and game nights. Contrast that to David, who ran out to meet Goliath, confident in the power and authority of the word of God.

Many youth pastors are like Saul who told David, oh you can’t go out there and face Goliath, you’re just a boy! You don’t belong in the battle David. Turns out the youth may fight the battle a bit better than the adults. Elihu was the youngest, yet he was the one who rebuked all of Job’s friends and even Job himself. We have sold the youth so far short today. Our expectation is so low. It’s just expected the youth are wild, and selfish and stupid and incapable of understanding, or being trusted with a job even. Gideon couldn’t even get his son to do the most basic job. It’s because youth ministry is just a play pen, a cushy bludge church job for a pastor with a pseudo degree who’s trying to be cool with the youth.

There’s a battle, a contest for the heart and the souls of the youth. Nebuchadnezzar took the youth for Babylon. Young men fell in the streets as the enemy army poured in. The adult’s sin will cost the youth. Hezekiah cost his son’s with his stupidity. Satan is after the youth. If he can get you early, you often do not recover. That guy with Legion was a child and a young man once. He grew up in a tribe that didn’t wholly follow God. And look how that turned out. Sin is going to take the youth, or you can trust God with them.

Give the youth to God by giving them what the Bible says and make a real difference and in so doing pull some out that will surely be headed to the fire. When they’re young, they’re discovering all sorts of sin. Look what God said in Genesis 8:21 –  “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth”. The youth will have an evil imagination. They’ve got real sin, that needs a real truth, a real gospel, a real Holy Spirit and a real Saviour. They need to be taught of God. When you give them the Bible, God will teach them. They don’t need human philosophy, psychology, counselling and our pandering to. Look what David wrote in Psalm 71:17 – “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.”

So just think today, what did those young men learn in the Ananias and Sapphira incident? They were taught quite a bit. They learnt quite a bit. They learnt more in one day than the adults who emerge from a lifetime of today’s youth ministry. They learnt God is holy. They learnt to fear God. They learnt that God is no joke. They learnt we are accountable to God. They learnt about the righteousness and judgment of God. They learnt about the power of God’s word. They learnt about sin. They learnt about fake Christianity.

They learnt to work. Nothing better for the youth than doing some work. Rather than gaming all the time, do some shoveling. They learnt reverence for holy things. I’m sure all this was burnt into the forefront of their mind when they thought about lying or sinning. Remember how a shepherd leads with a rod and a staff? They do comfort me, but sometimes a rod is for correcting me, and getting me back into the way I should go. Don’t spare the youth from the rod and the staff of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a youth ministry event this was. Here are two verses written to the young men in churches today…

1 John 2:13 – I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

1 John 2:14 – I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

Are we raising youth that overcome the wicked one? Most youth of today are living overcome… they’re not overcomers. They’re overcome by lies, by darkness, by wickedness, by philosophy, by error. Are we raising youth that are strong? Strong in the word? Strong in faith? Strong in truth? Their strength will be God’s word. But that’s the one thing they lack. They may even get exposed to some Bible, but they don’t really think it means what it says do they. I’m sure these young men of Peter’s church put some stock in God’s word didn’t they. If you want youth ministry done right, heed the lesson of Acts 5. The youth need to learn the fear of God, they need to understand and know truth. And they can, if they did in Acts 5, they can today, we just need to do it right, we need to do it by the book, by God’s book, the Holy Bible.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: