Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled,
and the kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the gospel."
Mark 1:15

5 Truths We're Keeping From Our Youth Groups  




By: Jordan Standridge


When I do campus evangelism, I often start the conversation this way: "What are two reasons you stopped going to church?" I've asked hundreds of students that question, and the most common responses make me think that church youth groups have failed dramatically.

I understand that every human being is responsible for their own sin, and that even the best of youth groups will have students that fall between the cracks. But the fact of the matter is that too many pastors have believed the lie that teenagers cannot handle certain truths. They have accepted the culture's belief that today's teenagers' attention span has shortened, and that their ability to comprehend deep truths has dissipated.

Whether you're a parent or a youth pastor, you have to understand that adapting to the culture is something that pagans do. The Church is called to be counter-culture, and we must, despite what the world tells us and sadly what many fellow Christians tell us, stay faithful to Scripture and teach the whole counsel of God. So here are five truths that most teenagers (christian or not) are not being taught, that we must teach, in order to have a Biblical youth group.


Teach them about their depravity

Most parents want the best for their children. They make it their mission to make sure their children live the best life possible. Their greatest desire is to have their children be healthy, successful and happy.

For some reason, what goes hand-in-hand with this, is difficulty assigning blame to their children for almost anything. Seeing dozens of feuds between students over the years has proven this to be the case. Parents generally if not always take their children's side. Very rarely will they admit any fault. If their children do get in trouble, they end up blaming other influences. If there is no one else to blame, than they blame it on the brain or on some kind of neurological/chemical imbalance issue. Most kids have been trained to blame-shift.

The Bible doesn't allow for this. Adam and Eve in the garden attempted to blame shift and God not only didn't allow it but also punished them severely for their sin (Genesis 3:9-19). James in James 4:1-4 also blames our own hearts for our fights writhing the church.

We must teach them to own-up to their sin. Because ultimately, one day when they stand before God (Hebrews 9:27) they will not be able to blame their friends, they will not be able to blame their brains, they will not be able to blame their parents, but they will only be able to blame themselves for their sin. We must teach the greatest war they will face, will be within their own hearts because of their great sinfulness.


Teach them about Death

casketNo one ever thinks about death! It's like the elephant in the room of every Gospel conversation. We have trained our minds to avoid the subject and to focus on this tiny, short life.

Most young people have never attended a funeral in their lives, and by the time they're in college their hearts are so hardened that they could care less about their own death.

Solomon in Ecclesiastes is constantly reminding the reader about their death. It's as if he is popping the bubble of every single millennial in the world today. Children are told, that they can be anything they want to be, that they can change the world, that they are special and unique. Solomon reminds us about two simple facts: you are going to die and in the big scheme of things no one will remember you.

I can almost picture what he is saying. Your funeral is around the corner, and 25-2000 people will gather to sing a few of your favorite songs and talk about you for an hour. On the drive home your grandson will shout, "I'm hungry!" After a pit stop at taco bell, and a couple arguments and fights, if people haven't forgotten about you yet they will once they have to use the bathroom after eating the loaded burrito. Perhaps, you have a great family and they might remember you for a few decades, but let me ask you do you know anything about your great-grandparents?

7 Billion people on earth know nothing about their great-grandparents, and yet we tell our children how special they are and how they will change the world. We must be truthful with our kids. Only then will they see their need for Christ and live lives that actually matter and can make an eternal impact.


Teach them to love like Christ did

Love is validation. Love is being non-judgmental. Love is accepting people for who they are and never pointing out any flaw in your friends.

Students everywhere are being told these things and are encouraged to surround themselves only with "positive people". "Yes-men" and women who will never question anything they do.

In fact, many psychologists tell their patients to do away with negative people. To surround themselves with people who will develop their self-esteem. 

This in turn teaches teenagers to only be around people who accept them. Not only does it shun them from people who would speak truth to them, but also it teaches them to not love those who are different. It trains them to have a selfish mindset in relationships.

Jesus loved us despite the fact that he couldn't get anything in return. We could not offer him anything, only our sin. And yet he humbled himself and took the form of a slave in order to serve his murderers. We must imitate Him. We must be counter-cultural in this and teach our youth groups to love the unlovable, to love the outcast. To include those who are rough around the edges. We must go out of our way to encourage others in the Church.

So many young people in our churches think that they are too smart, too wise and too cool to go out of their way to serve and to encourage other people. We must teach our youth to get out of their comfort zones and to love and reach out to others unlike them.


Teach them how to evangelize

What is obvious is the fact that none of these students have ever shared the Gospel before. My second question after finding out where they attended Church growing up is, "What is the Gospel?"

No one has been able to answer this question. Especially those who said they grew up in the Church. Some, even tell me that they used to be an evangelist like me but no longer believe, and yet are incapable of telling me what they would go around and say while "evangelizing".

We must teach our youth groups the Gospel. They need to know that the holiness of God is part of the Gospel. They need to know that you haven't shared the good news unless you've explained the bad news that man is depraved and is on their way to hell. You cannot share the Gospel unless you explain why Jesus had to be fully God and fully man, live a perfect life, died on the cross and rose from the dead. And they must know that the Gospel is not preached unless the person being preached to is called to repent and believe!

All these are essential components of the Gospel and we must teach our youth groups this fact. We must hire youth pastors that actually evangelize. We must take the students out and do evangelism with them. I have met too many college students who have never shared the Gospel before. Someone needs to train these students to give their life away and to have the Gospel on their lips at all times.


Teach them Doctrine through long, biblical sermons

mosh pitMany youth groups have bought the seeker sensitive lie. They make their youth-groups into huge parties, they fill the room with unbelievers and after loads of games they sing a few man-centered songs and teach a feel-good message. While it does get non-Christians in the doors of the Church, the actual Christians who attend do not grow.

Most students I talk to on the various campuses have never heard a sermon longer than 20 minutes. When I tell them that we teach the Bible verse by verse, most say that they've never heard of such a thing before, and agree that if you believe the Bible to be God's Word that it would be the wisest approach.

When you teach through all of Scripture you expose your teenagers to the whole counsel of God. And believe it or not they can handle it. Just last week I preached four, forty-five minute sermons to fifty high school students over the course of two days. You should have seen their notebooks. Filled with notes. I got to sit in on small group time following the sermon, and their retention level was amazing.

This would have been true no matter who the speaker was. Because of the fact that the Church has trained them so well. Students are capable of watching a movie once and quote pretty much the whole movie verbatim. If they can do that, they can handle sitting under God's Word, which has the power to save them and change them for eternity.

After talking with hundreds of these college students who grew up in the Church going to youth group on a weekly basis, I can't help but realize that the Church has failed. These students have never sat through a sermon longer than 20 minutes. They believe that the Bible teaches that human beings are inherently good. Rarely, if ever, do they think about death. Also they don't know how to love, because after being referred to secular counseling and exposed to the world, they are taught to only love people who love them in return. And although they claim to have been evangelists and to have shared the Gospel they cannot explain even a basic presentation of the truth.

We have a great responsibility and opportunity with our youth, Proverbs 22:6 reminds us, "Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it". I'm thankful for Immanuel and other faithful churches that despite the culture's pressures doesn't waver in these essential areas.





The Big Question

Does God Exist?

What Is The Bible?

Is The Bible True?

Who Is Jesus?

Is Jesus In Every Book Of The Bible?

Is Jesus God?

Did Jesus Fulfill Any Prophecies?

Did God Create You?

What About Reincarnation?

Are You Going To Heaven?

What Is The Truth About Hell?

What are the Essentials of the Faith?

Who Will You Believe?

Want To Find A Good Church?

Looking For A Church In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?

Which Bible Translation Is Right For Me?

What is the TULIP, and is it Biblical?

What are the Five Solas, and are they Biblical?



"All Religions Lead To God"

"Never Talk About Religion Or Politics"

"Judge Not..."

"The Bible Is Full Of Contradictions"

"A Powerful God Wouldn't Allow So Much Evil..."

"The Church Is Full Of Hypocrites"

"What About Those Who Never Hear About Jesus?"

"A God of Love vs. A God of Wrath"

"A Loving God Wouldn't Send People To Hell"

"You're Only A Christian Because You..."

"As Long As You're Sincere In What You Believe"

"How Do You Know Which Religion Is Right?"

"God Would Never Forgive Someone Like Me"

"I Can't Believe In Miracles"

"Unanswered Prayer Shows God Doesn't Exist"

"What's With All The Different Denominations?"

"Jesus Was Just a Copycat of Pagan Myths"

"What About The Crusades?"

"What About Slavery In The Bible?"

"What About Evolution?"

"What About Homosexuality?"

"Jesus Didn't Say Anything About Homosexuality"

"What About Abortion?"


Other Stuff

   Other Beliefs


     Roman Catholicism


     Jehovah's Witnesses


     Seventh-Day Adventism




     New Age

     Christian Science



     Oneness Pentecostals

     Unitarian Universalism




What I Believe

Theological Terms and Definitions

Belief Comparison Chart

An Eschatological Overview (End Times)

Good Quotes

Paul Washer Quotes

20 Logical Fallacies

17 Questions Every Christian Should Think About

My Prayer - I Have A Problem...

More Than A Holiday

Honest Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses

Honest Questions For Mormons

Questions For Skeptics

10 Reasons To Tell Your Kids The Truth About Santa

A View From The Life Boat

A Collection of Helpful Bible Passages

A Story About A Boy Named Mikey

Thoughts On The Doctrine Of Definite Atonement

Questions To Ask A Child Before Their Baptism

A Critique Of An Origin-Of-Life Article

No Hope In The Pope

Terrorism - What You Can Do About It

The Impact Of A Blind Elderly Woman

Evidence For The Resurrection - W.O.M.E.N.

Quotes About Sin

17 Ways To Fight Sin In Your Life


Apologetics / Evangelism

What Is Apologetics?

Why Should We Do Apologetics?

What Is Presuppositional Apologetics? 

What Do You KNOW? 

What Is Evangelism? 

Why Should We Evangelize? 

Are Christian Doing A Good Job Of Evangelizing? 

7 Reasons People Don't Share Their Faith

The Question Of Evangelism - Words Or Works? 

Is The World In Which We Live In Today Tolerant? 

Preaching What We Practice and Talking The Walk

Man vs. God Centered Evangelism


Around the Web

A Letter From An Atheist

Are You A Good Person?

Is This Your Life?

What Does It Mean To Accept Christ?

What's Wrong With The Sinner's Prayer?

An Important Aspect of Baptism

Must We Believe Jesus Is God?

Turn or Burn

Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church

10 Reasons Not To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart

10 Principles For New Christians

10 Pitfalls Of The Foolish Apologist

Evangelistic Phrases That Produce False Conversions

The Secret About How Some Christians Witness

Preaching God's Love In Acts?

The Gospel In Every Book Of The Bible

7 Key Differences Bewteen Protestant And Catholic Doctrine

A Different Perspective On Halloween

10 Reasons I Kissed Halloween Goodbye

The Question After A Tragedy - WHY?

The Impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thoughts About Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner

A Pastor's Response To The Marriage Debate

Sin By Any Other Name Is Still Sin

Should a Woman Be a Pastor or Elder?

Wives, Submit To Your Husbands?

The Shack - Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment

Universalism - A Problem for Everyone

5 Problems With Roman Catholic Theology

5 More Problems With Roman Catholic Theology

5 Truths We're Keeping From Our Youth Groups

Charlottesville, Racism and God's Word

8 Signs Your Christianity is Too Comfortable

Maybe Elvis Was Just a Carnal Christian?

Is God Calling Me to Be a Pastor?


Audio / Video

    Original Sermon Jams

     Born Again - Paul Washer

     Does Jesus Know You? - Paul Washer

     We Got An A! - Paul Washer

     A Boy On The Street - R.C. Sproul

     Fearless - R.C. Sproul

     Hypocrites - R.C. Sproul

     Smiling Faces - R.C. Sproul

     Authorized Personnel Only - Tony Evans

     Drive-thru - Tony Evans

     One Flesh - Tony Evans

     Sex - Tony Evans

     The Satisfier - Tony Evans

     Who to Serve? - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     The Voice of Truth - Pastor Ben Maxie

     Transformed - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     Where is the Love? - Pastor Ben Maxie

     He Claimed to be God - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     Love is a Behavior - Pastor Ben Maxie

     Examine It for Yourself - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     Perfect Love - Pastor Ben Maxie

     We Need Preachers - Mike Bongo

     The Sovereignty of God in Evangelism - Mike Bongo 

     I'm Ready - Mike Bongo

     Our Day in Court - Mike Bongo

     Examine Yourself - Mike Bongo

     Exclusivity - Mike Bongo

     Our World - Mike Bongo

     The Great Exchange - Mike Bongo 

     True God - Mike Bongo

    The One Minute Apologist

     Intolerance - Greg Koukl

     Legislating Morality - Frank Turek

     Intelligent Design and Creation - Bill Dembski

     Tolerance is Unbiblical - Josh McDowell

     Homosexual Forgiveness - Michael Brown

     What Must I Do To Be Saved? - Hank Hannegraaff

     Is Jesus A Copycat Savior? - J. Warner Wallace

     The Resurrection - Gary Habernas

     Contradictions In The Bible - Mike Licona

     Is It About Winning Arguments? - Mary Jo Sharp

     Does Christianity Oppress Women? - Dianna Newman

     Is Evil An Argument For God? - Brett Kunkle

   WWUTT (When We Understand The Text)

     Hate The Sin, Love The Sinner?

     Thou Shalt Not Judge?

     God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle?

     Do We Have To Prove That God Exists?

     Preach The Gospel, If Necessary Use Words?

     You Don't Have To Go To Church To Be A Christian?

     I Stand At The Door And Knock?

     God Has Already Chosen Who Will Be Saved?

     Spare The Rod, Spoil the Child?

     The Bible Says Slavery is Okay?

     Are Catholics Saved?

     God Foreknew Who Would Be Saved?

     Does The Bible Say Homosexuality is A Sin?

     Alter Calls And The Sinner's Prayer?

     Worse Than An Unbeliever?

    Kids Section

     The Gospel

     David Platt On Sharing the Gospel With Children

     For The Children: Are You Saved? - Paul Washer

     2 Amazing 11 Year Old Boys

   Other Audio / Video

     Rescue The Perishing

     Emeal Zwayne's Dialogue With A Homosexual

     The Big Questions of Life - Voddie Baucham

   Explore God

     Is There A God?

     Can We Know God Personally?

     Why Does God Allow Pain And Suffering?

     Is Jesus Really God?

     Are Christians Judgmental?

   The Bible Project

     The Book of Genesis Overview - Part 1 of 2 

     The Book of Genesis Overview - Part 2 of 2 

     The Book of Exodus Overview - Part 1 of 2

     The Book of Exodus Overview - Part 2 of 2

     The Book of Leviticus Overview

     The Book of Numbers Overview

     The Book of Deuteronomy Overview

     The Book of Joshua Overview

     The Book of Judges Overview

     The Book of Ruth Overview

     The Book of 1 Samuel Overview

     The Book of 2 Samuel Overview

     The Books of 1 and 2 Kings Overview

     The Book of Job Overview

     The Book of Psalms Overview

     The Book of Proverbs Overview

     The Book of Song of Songs Overview

     The Book of Isaiah Overview - Part 1 of 2

     The Book of Isaiah Overview - Part 2 of 2

     The Book of Hosea Overview

     The Book of Joel Overview

     The Book of Amos Overview

     The Book of Obadiah Overview

     The Book of Jonah Overview

     The Book of Micah Overview

     The Book of Nahum Overview

     The Book of Habakkuk Overview

     The Book of Zephaniah Overview 

Street Conversations

Street Conversations Disclaimer

Street Conversations - George & Paul

Street Conversations - Don

Street Conversations - VeeJay

Street Conversations - Joe

Street Conversations - Ralph 

Street Conversations - Charles

Street Conversations - Ed

Street Conversations - Ken

Street Conversations - Jessica

Street Conversations - Ida

Street Conversations - Earl & Evadel 

Street Conversations - Jim  

Street Conversations - Raheem

Street Conversations - Raheem part 2

Street Conversations - My Mom

Street Conversations - Eddie

Street Conversations - Renee

Street Conversations - Ron

Street Conversations - Rash

Street Conversations - Preacher

Street Conversations - Luis

Street Conversations - Keith

Street Conversations - Hippy

Street Conversations - Rich

Street Conversations - Hippy part 2

Street Conversations - Butch

Street Conversations - Scott

Street Conversations - Marcos

Street Conversations - Will & James

Street Conversations - Alexander and Valerie

Street Conversations - Jerry and Steve

Street Conversations - Blake

Street Conversations - Elteresa

Street Conversations - Pete

Street Conversations - George

Street Conversations - Jacob

Street Conversations - Nolan

Street Conversations - Fred and Frank

Street Conversations - Phillip



My Baptism

Survey Says  

A Faith Worth Thinking About  

Resolutions From Revelation  

Takin' The Gospel To The Streets  

Responding Rightly To The Gospel Of Grace  

A Defense That Honors God And His Word  

Encouragement In Corinth

Why Are You Here?  

The Dash

Surrendering To Win

The Gospel

The Laborers Are Few; Therefore...

Love Has No Labels - A Response

Faith That Works

Atheists: They Don't Exist


Making a Difference - Outreach and Evangelism  

Luke - A Careful Investigation to be Sure  

Be Kind! Yeah, But Why?

A Close Encounter of the Divine Kind

The Formula For Forgiveness

The Parable of the Soils

Jesus in the Storm

Dealing with Difficult Disciples


Repent or Perish!

Demanding Discipleship

Seeing the Seeker

Having What You Need When You Need It

This is Us

The Motivation to Sacrifice



The views and opinions of this website are the sole opinion of the author, not Living Water Community Church, its staff, congregation, or leadership.


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