We have a strong, healthy youth ministry. This isn’t just my own assessment; outsiders say the same thing. Foreign missionaries who have hosted our youth group members have commented that they are faithful and hardworking, more so than any others they had met. The Houston mission center staff, with whom our youth group works to help inner city kids during the summer, made similar comments.
More evidence of our successful youth ministry is that almost everyone from our youth group becomes an active member of a local church when they go to college. Many other young people stop going to church after they leave home.
Nonetheless, some people complain about our youth ministries. Their main complaint is that few of our youth group kids go to top ranking colleges. I think that this complaint is unfair. They don’t understand that colleges in the US are rated differently than in Korea. In Korea, certain prestigious universities are regarded highly irrespective of particular academic subjects. But in the US, different universities are recognized as leaders in different disciplines, and are ranked differently in those areas. From this perspective, many of our youth group kids are indeed going to “top ranked” schools. I think that parents think otherwise because no one has gone to Harvard or Stanford recently, universities that are highly esteemed in Korea, not realizing that there are many other good schools.
Most of their complaints stem from Saturday activities. They seem to feel that these activities take away study time from their children. But I think that they are mistaken. It is very hard for young people to study on Saturdays. Parents may believe their children are studying when they see them crouching in their rooms but they’re more likely to be playing video games or instant messaging.
Another complaint is that our youth group leaders don’t emphasize the importance of studying enough. This is also untrue. Our leaders repeatedly tell the youth group to study hard, because faithfulness is one of the most important qualities of a Christian. But I have to admit that our leaders rightly place more emphasis on being a good person than on going to the best schools, because without good character, good schooling does not help them live a truly successful life.
If parents feel that church activities are hurting their children’s academic careers, they are welcome to withdraw their children from church activities. But I hope that they do not try to eliminate all activities simply because they don’t want their children to participate. Furthermore, I hope that they do not expect our church leaders to teach young people that attending a prestigious university is the most important thing in life.
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