In 1930s and 1940s American Christians realized they weren't
keeping their youth in the church.
Something had to be done. Young Life and Youth for Christ began as off-shoots
of the Miracle Book Club at this time. They all developed approaches targeted
specifically at adolescents. It was also in this era that youth culture
was rising and preparing to take over as the premier culture of the Western
Dr. Tom Bergler in his recently published book, The
Juvenilization of American Christianity, traces the way youth ministries
have both breathed new vitality into the major American church traditions
and juvenilized them at the same time, resulting in widespread consumerism,
spiritual immaturity, self-centeredness, and a shallow, feel-good faith.
Recognizing the power, the ways, and the means of youth culture is necessary
if we are going to reach teens in the modern world. Hardly any are unaffected
by it. However, leaving teens with a juvenile faith is hardly better than
leaving them with a childish faith. Neither will serve them effectively
Juvenilzation of the American Church is the lead story in the June
8, 2012 issue of Christianity Today.