In the latest e-news letter put out by Rev. Terry Dittmer from the Youth Ministry Office of The LCMS Board for District and Congregational Services (what a mouthful), he has a blurb from the Associated Baptist Press under his “Teens and Trends” section. Here is what it says:
If you want to influence a teenager’s faith, have them serve meals to the homeless or do other hands-on service projects. “Involvement in community service is far more significant to the faith development of teens than involvement in worship,” says Michael Sherr, one of the Baylor University researchers who conducted the study (Associated Baptist Press, February 8, 2007).
So the question is: should I have my youth attend the Divine Service, where they hear the Word of God and receive Christ’s body and blood, OR should I send them to the local soup kitchen where they serve meals to the homeless? Better yet, why not just cancel church for all the members and send them to various places to do “hands-on service projects?” If it’s good for youth, then it has to be good for the entire congregation, right?
UPDATE: You can read the entire article for yourself here.