Entertaining the Broken

Are we giving people what they really need, or are we sending them into feel-good complacency?

In this day and age, entertainment has become, not just a treat or something to pass the time, but our whole lives. We’re fed entertainment every part of the day, and it makes me wonder, is it doing us any good?

As someone who’s entering adulthood, I’ve grown tired of the constant obsession with the very thing we all say is a good. I crave a good, intellectual talk. Something that will challenge me and my beliefs. Something that will bring me closer to Jesus and His love for me. Something that will bring me closer to another human. Friendships are made from humble conversations starting with a “Hello,” after all. Entertainment is only bringing complacency.

So why do we think entertainment brings us closer to Christ? Why does the church believe we need entertainment to keep youth in church?

I’m going to be honest here (and maybe a bit controversial), but I’ve never understood the concept of youth groups. If their purpose is to get youth meeting other like-minded people their age, why not just go up to someone and say “Hi,” in church? If it’s to make youth engage in Christian activity normal church can’t do, why can’t everyone, of all ages join? Why make it exclusive to the youth? I just can’t see the point. However, I could be wrong. Maybe there’s something I’m missing. If they’re there to help youth meet and strengthen each other, then it has my full support, but from what I see, the focus of a majority of them is entertainment.

So should we be entertaining youths? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. Church should be an enjoyable place. But have we replaced the desire to grow in Christ, with the desire to socialize and be entertained? It’s what everyone wants after all, but entertainment is not what broken people need.

Today there are more suicides then ever, especially from youth, and unfortunately even from older children; but it seems we’re staring blindly and can’t see a problem. And that’s the problem, we aren’t seeing one. You have to trust me on this, you won’t know there’s a problem until you listen. We must talk to them, ask them about their lives, their struggles, their faith. We all have problems. We all have doubts. We all have temptations and struggles, but if we keep pushing them under the rug with sports and games, problems will never be erased. They’ll never be understood.

I’m sure everyone who has gone to church has heard the term “Seeker friendly.” However, most of what we’re doing, isn’t seeker friendly. Youth want to know each other. They want to know who God is. He’s not just an empty idea, but a living being who wants a personal relationship with us! That’s a whole lot more exciting than that disco show, isn’t it?

Maybe we should stop trying to lure people in, and start feeding those we already have? We can lure a hundred in, but it’s not going to go anywhere if each one is starving for substance. And I believe that, like a flock of birds, when we start feeding, others will come. We all know that holding out the food and never giving it only results in the bird giving up. I think we all feel like that bird sometimes,  we just don’t show it. We have a screen over our hearts and in front of us. We’re all standing in front of you, everything together, trying to be so cool (perfect time to place some Twenty One Pilots lyrics!). That screen needs to be realized and pushed through with the love of Jesus, not ignored.

So what if we took down our multi-colored screens that lure and attract, and instead opened the doors and fed the hungry? What if we stopped entertaining the youth and started to really get them? We don’t need to wear baggy, ripped pants to appear approachable, we just need to offer a smile and a hand. Maybe we should all offer a smile and a hand to everyone once in awhile. And maybe, forgive me if this is a stretch, we could befriend and talk to everyone, in all age groups. Youth to the elderly, adults to teens, etc. We might just find something amazing. We might find something real. Who knows?