360° Coverage : Why God Is Losing To Youth Sports

2 Updates
Why God Is Losing To Youth Sports
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Why God Is Losing To Youth Sports

Feb 24 2014, 5:35pm CST | by

Looking at what those involved in attracting children to organized religion have to say,  youth sports is winning the competition against God so thoroughly, it might be time for sports invoke a...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

29 weeks ago

Why God Is Losing To Youth Sports

Feb 24 2014, 5:35pm CST | by

Looking at what those involved in attracting children to organized religion have to say,  youth sports is winning the competition against God so thoroughly, it might be time for sports invoke a mercy rule on His behalf, instead of the other way around.

The latest lament I’ve seen comes from Stephen Ingram, a youth minister at a Methodist church in Birmingham, Ala., who also serves as a youth ministry consultant and has written one of the more intriguingly titled books I’ve come across: “Hollow Faith: How Andy Griffth, Facebook and the American Dream Neutered the Gospel.” (I don’t know if Andy Griffith was a gospel-neuterer, but any sheriff who wields a guitar more than a gun sure seems soft on crime.)

Ingram’s open letter to parents about how stressed and overscheduled and “in a bad place” their kids are struck a chord with me, mostly because of this line: “Your kids are probably not going to play a professional sport, and that is ok.” With a little tightening, that might work as a blog title. Ingram was talking in general about all the worldly pressures keeping children from a balanced life that includes church and youth ministry, but sports got a special mention:

Now, do not get me wrong the lip service is there.  ”I want to be at youth on Sunday night but I have too much homework” “I wish my child could go on the mission trip but they have football” “I really want them to be in church but they just have too many things going on right now”

Lets stop playing the game.
/>

If you really want them there, you can make it happen.  If a student really wants to be at church or youth group homework will not get in their way, it doesn’t get in the way of basketball, show choir or act prep classes.

Why?

Because we value those things, we love those things and we are committed to those things.

Ingram’s solution: parents, band together and take action. Football team taking too much time? If enough of you pull your kids from the football team, then that’ll show the coaches they can’t monopolize your child’s time anymore?

Of course, even Ingram has to know, deep down, that’s not going to happen. There are too many trends working against organized religion. The big trend is that, as some religious scholars say, only 20 percent of Americans regularly attend church (and I doubt the numbers for other houses of worship would bump up that total much), so a lot of those parents Ingram wants to pull their kids from the football team are already long gone. In fact, many church leaders are already, if unwillingly, waving the white flag in the worship vs. sports battle.  If the family isn’t going to church, they’re probably not too worried about youth group.

Another big trend is why families are willing to spend a large amount of time on homework, school activities and sports, but not so much on church. In an age of high middle-class anxiety, with fears that not keeping up with the competition 24 hours a day is a guarantee of slipping into poverty, those other activities provide the promise — however false (in the case of sports) it may be — that kids will at least stay at the income level of their parents, if not exceed it.

The percentage of children in my older kids’ high school who are eligible to receive free or reduced-priced lunches jumped from 29 percent in 2009 to 51 percent only three years later — a number that has stayed the same for 2013. In my younger children’s elementary school, the totals jumped from 28 percent in 2010 to 53 percent in 2012, and up to 54 percent in 2013. And, remember, the housing market stunk, so people weren’t moving. In this environment, people are going to gravitate to whatever holds the promise of a rosy financial future, which may explain why the prosperity Gospel is a particularly popular form of Christianity at the moment.

My family is actually among the 20 percent of regular churchgoers, with my busy children participating in youth group, including out-of-state mission trips. It’s a challenge, to be sure, and sometimes when the schedule stretches too much, the kids, particularly the older ones, get to sleep in on Sundays. The church itself sees a value in its children being involved in their communities in many ways, including sports, and for two years it’s even sponsored youth baseball and softball. But that might end, in part because there might be a better way to use our resources, especially with exactly zero people coming to our church because they saw the name on the back of some kid’s jersey. Maybe for the reasons I already stated above.

Other church leaders have responded to laments like Ingram’s by saying ministers shouldn’t see outside activities as competition, and maybe bend the schedule a bit to fit into the other things that kids do.  Clearly, sports and activities are not going to invoke a mercy rule to ease up on their affect on houses of worship, except for maybe whatever is happening in this recently released Kirk Cameron Christian baseball movie that is called, in fact, “Mercy Rule.”

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

2 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a ne ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

2 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Medical irregularities found in Joan Rivers' death: Report
Los Angeles, Sep 17 (IANS/EFE) The personal doctor of Joan Rivers is being investigated for the death of the popular American comedian and television host who died a week after undergoing a minor throat operation.
 
 
Ukraine unveils roadmap to implement EU deal
Kiev, Sep 17 (IANS) The Ukrainian government has approved a plan to implement the Association Agreement with the European Union (EU), Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Wednesday.
 
 
Shun pills, try sex to get relief from migraine
London, Sep 17 (IANS) Got a throbbing or pulsing sensation in one area of the head? Forget pills and go between the sheets to relieve migraine symptoms.
 
 
Can another drink relieve you from a hangover?
London, Sep 17 (IANS) Is "hair of the dog" the best cure for hangover? According to a renowned author and journalist, another drink is the way to get rid of those forgetful morning episodes of a dry mouth, headaches, nausea and lethargy.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

ICC World Cup trophy arrives in Pakistan
Dubai, Sep 17 (IANS) The ICC World Cup trophy arrived in Lahore as part of its visit to countries which will compete in next year's extravaganza to be staged in Australia and New Zealand from Feb 14 to Mar 29....
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Sino-Indian cooperation invaluable: Chinese daily
Beijing, Sep 17 (IANS) The India-China relationship is of enormous strategic value, one that cannot be replaced by other bilateral ties, a leading English daily of China said ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Shun pills, try sex to get relief from migraine
London, Sep 17 (IANS) Got a throbbing or pulsing sensation in one area of the head? Forget pills and go between the sheets to relieve migraine symptoms. In a recent survey by German researchers, 60 percent of those...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Asian Games: India bank on Saina, Sindhu for medals (Preview)
Incheon, Sep 17 (IANS) Once again the onus of winning medals will fall upon the young shoulders of Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu, who are India's best bets in the badminton competition that gets underway at the 17th...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Scottish referendum: Three polls show slight lead for 'No'
Edinburgh, Sep 17 (IANS/EFE) Three new opinion polls published Wednesday have shown a slight lead for the "no" vote on Scottish independence. Meanwhile, politicians from both sides made last minute appeals before...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Athletic Club relishing Champions League return
Madrid, Sep 17 (IANS) The Champions League football group stage returns to Bilbao for the first time since 1998 when Athletic Club Bilbao entertain Shakhtar Donetsk in the San Mames Stadium Wednesday night. Athletic...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Against Manchester City, Bayern rests hopes on Alonso
Berlin, Sep 17 (IANS) It was a picture of rare symbolic power: Inevitably, Bayern Munich is resting its hopes on one man's shoulders in the Champions League opener against Manchester City Wednesday night - Xabi Alonso...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
62 detained in China in social networking porn crackdown
Beijing, Sep 17 (IANS) Police in Beijing and Guangzhou have detained 62 suspects for using social networking services to organise prostitution or spread pornographic content, according to China's anti-pornography...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Gary Kirsten launches travel &amp; tourism company
Durban, Sep 17 (IANS) Former South Africa and India coach Gary Kirsten has launched a travel and tourism company in collaboration with Cape Africa Tours. The company named "Gary Kirsten Travel &amp; Tours" is...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Jamaat calls Bangladesh shutdown for release of leader
Dhaka, Sep 17 (IANS) Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami party has called for a country-wide shutdown to press its demand for release of its top leader, Delwar Sayedee, whose death sentence was commuted by the Supreme Court...
Read more on Politics Balla