Scott T. Brown is Director of the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC). Brown serves as a pastor at Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC. He graduated from California State University with a degree in history, and received a M. Div. from Talbot School of Theology. He gives most of his time to pastoral ministry and conferences on biblical church life. He and his wife, Deborah, have been married for twenty-nine years, and they have four children. For information, visit www.ncific.org or www.scottbrownonline.com.
Author By Night
Modern Youth Ministry Is Contrary to the Bible
With lightning speed, we have seen the disappearance of intact families: fathers who lead their homes; mothers who appreciate their biblical role. We have also seen the almost universal disappearance of children who live their entire lives honoring their parents. Not only this, but the church has followed the patterns of the world, participating in the very breakdown that is causing her demise.
About fifteen years ago, I faced the hard facts of the breakdown of the family. A study of Scripture led me to work toward the restoration of biblical order in church and home. The near loss of the biblically defined family has caused massive breakdowns throughout every area of society, and I believe biblical order of church and home is one of the most important issues of our time.
Over the years, my sensitivity to these problems has heightened. I began to help sound the alarm of truth and offer biblical answers to the problems we are facing. The Vision Forum launched an organization called the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC), of which I am director. We wrote “A Confession for Uniting Church and Home” in order to define the complimentary roles of church and family. Then, for over a decade I crisscrossed this nation to raise my voice for the restoration of biblical church and family life. I conducted hundreds of conferences on biblical fatherhood, biblical church structure, expository preaching, and biblical church leadership.
Most recently, the Lord called me to share our message in a timely book titled A Weed in the Church, and to produce the important film Divided: Is Age-Segregated Ministry Multiplying or Dividing the Church? Both projects explain how the church has strayed from the simple teaching of Scripture in how it ministers to the younger generations.
In A Weed in the Church, I offer the historical and theological background to the proposition that age segregation is an unbiblical practice. I argue, while Scripture commands youth discipleship, the premises of modern youth ministry are at odds with biblical teaching. A Weed in the Church unfolds the history, the nature, the effect, and the root problem of systematic, age-segregated youth ministry and presents hopeful solutions built on Scripture’s sure foundation.
In the NCFIC’s film Divided, we worked with young filmmaker Philip Leclerc, who set out on a journey to discover the truth about modern youth ministry with this question in mind: Is age-segregated worship an issue with the church, young people, and their parents?
We at the NCFIC have begun a national campaign to educate the church about the unbiblical nature of age segregation—and its dangers. To my joy, there is a spreading reformation movement across denominational lines. All across America, youth pastors are resigning and whole churches are changing the way they minister to youth. Some have cancelled their youth programs altogether and have eliminated age segregation from their churches. Recently, one church formally entered into a time of repentance for separating its members during worship—young from old, teenagers from their parents, and even infants from their mothers.
Specifically, the fathers in the church apologized for neglecting their duties to oversee the discipleship of their children. The pastor made a motion in the form of a statement of repentance that was accepted by the majority of the congregation. Today this church is just one of hundreds to integrate its services into a tapestry of age-integrated worship as depicted in the pages of the Bible.
While more than 700 churches have locked arms with the NCFIC and its movement since 2001, other church leaders still view the change as being too extreme. “If I integrate this place, I’ll split my church,” one pastor admitted. “They are not ready for that.”
As a result, over the next sixty days the NCFIC will live stream for free the film Divided to encourage other ministry leaders and their churches to take action on this point: All we need for life and godliness is said in Scripture. After just one week in the campaign that began July 8, already more than 50,000 people have watched the film in its entirety by following this link: http://www.dividedthemovie.com/#watchlink. I strongly encourage you to check it out and to make an informed decision about age-segregated worship for you, your family, and your church.