Jump to content

Menu

Halo 3 and Mage at Youth Group


Recommended Posts

We are having a bit of a situation with our church's youth group.

 

The content of the actual service is fine.

 

The problem is that they are playing what several parents feel are inappropriate games before and after.

 

Two months ago the senior pastor acknowledged that the girls putting toilet paper diapers on the boys was inappropriate and that he would call an end to that. At the time though he said he had no problem with another game that was being played; a murder role-playing game.

 

This past Wednesday my husband went to youth group just to check it out. Our daughter will soon be in the Jr High group which is run by the youth pastor so we are trying to familiarize ourselves with it all. He was completely shocked to find teens playing Halo 3 (rated M for Mature 17+) and a Mage card game (fantasy role-playing with magic. Dungeon & Dragonish) AT YOUTH GROUP.

 

When asked the youth pastor completely blew my husband off as being an over-reactive homeschool parent. He says he has no problem with either game and that they are a great way to bring kids into the youth group.

 

Obviously you can see our opinion of the games just in the slant of my writing, but I want to ask all of you...

1) Would you have a problem with this?

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.)

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond?

 

It would be helpful to discover if we really are the odd balls in this issue or if others would agree.

 

We basically have to decide how far we want to pursue it with the church staff. Do we just bow out gracefully and look for another church, do we continue to attend but not allow our children to participate in youth activities at our church (wow, that would stink for them) or do we continue to voice our concerns to the staff and hope for a change?

 

Let me clarify that I'm not asking whether you'd allow these in your own home. That is your choice. I'm asking whether you'd appreciate them at youth group.

Edited by Daisy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Yes, I have a big problem with that.

 

2. non denominational evangelical protestant

 

3. My kids would not attend youth group. I would have serious doubts about the wisdom of the church leadership. I would look for a new church (this is all hypothetical though since my dh is a pastor and would not have any of that in a church he was pastoring).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. We'd definitely have a problem with the video game... I'm not sure about the role playing game. I'd want to check it out though. I am more lenient about that kind of thing than the majority of parents at our church, though, so I don't think it would EVER be an activity at our church youth group.

 

2. Evangelical Presbyterian.

 

3. I agree with Jean; I'd look for another church where my kids could participate with the youth. It is no fun to be the one who doesn't go to stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If several parents feel it's inappropriate, are they all calling the pastor and yp? I can't imagine this happening here and there not being a parent meeting.

 

The youth pastor sounds young, inexperienced, immature, and unwilling to listen to parents' concerns. I would have problems trusting his judgement in any situation and wouldn't want him being a spiritual leader for my dc.

 

My dc would be out of that group so fast their heads would spin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

This past Wednesday my husband went to youth group just to check it out. Our daughter will soon be in the Jr High group which is run by the youth pastor so we are trying to familiarize ourselves with it all.

 

He was completely shocked to find teens playing Halo 3 (rated M for Mature 17+) and a Mage card game (fantasy role-playing with magic. Dungeon & Dragonish) AT YOUTH GROUP.

 

 

So, your daughter is about 12 or 13?

 

 

1) Would you have a problem with this? I'm guessing that your daughter is about 12 or 13 since she is going into the Jr. High Group...if that is true, yes, I would have a problem with playing Halo due to its Mature rating. I'm not familiar with the other game, but if it's like Dungeons and Dragons, no, I don't think I would have a problem with that game.

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.) As for my religious beliefs, I'm not very religious. I believe in the Ten Commandments and the general rule of thumb, "Don't be an a**hole."Sorry guys, that was the best way to sum it up.

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond?

 

If I was in that situation I would speak with either the youth group leader or the youth group leader and the next person up and express my concerns about 13 year old children playing games that are rated Mature/17. If I had concerns about the other game I would express those too. I know some of our more Christian friends are bothered by things involving magic. I think it's a valid concern if it does cross the line of your comfort level and your beliefs.

 

I would probably also approach other parents that I'm friendly with and ask if they were aware of the games that were being played and see how they feel about it. If others agree with my feelings, I would have them participate in the discussion with the youth leader to help make it clear that I'm not the only parent this is not happy with the situation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If several parents feel it's inappropriate, are they all calling the pastor and yp? I can't imagine this happening here and there not being a parent meeting.

 

The youth pastor sounds young, inexperienced, immature, and unwilling to listen to parents' concerns. I would have problems trusting his judgement in any situation and wouldn't want him being a spiritual leader for my dc.

 

My dc would be out of that group so fast their heads would spin.

 

Yes, to your bolded question. There have been individual meetings between the youth pastor, senior pastor, and several families. No "parent" meeting though. The response from staff is basically that parents also call them to complain that youth group is too boring. These games make youth group fun. Otherwise kids will stop coming. :glare:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Would you have a problem with this?

 

I would not have a problem with a fantasy-based card game (was it Magic? It's just like Pokemon, in the end, I don't think of it as a RPG), I would have a problem with HALO 3.

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.)

 

non-denominational charistmatic

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond?

 

Talk to the leadership. If there was no response, we'd find a new church. We *have* attended a church in the past where I did not allow my kids to participate in the youth group for an entirely opposite reason from this, but that isn't ideal.

Edited by Mrs Mungo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I would have issue with this, and we are liberal with gaming.

 

We had this issue a few years ago, where ds claimed he was playing an M rated game at youth group, well before we even allowed them at home. We talked to be people in charge who assured us they would look into and no M rated games were supposed to be allowed. We left the church shortly afterward for different reasons. It was a non-denominational protestant church.

 

Role playing game, probably wouldn't have as much issue, but I still don't believe those belong in a youth group setting.

 

What irks me, even if you do allow those games at home, is that they've moved past the boundary in what should be a parental judgment call.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Would you have a problem with this? YES

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.) United Methodist Church

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond? If I could not get the youth director to listen to reason, I'd go over his head, to Staff-Parish Relations. They would not go for this in our church, and we tend to not be super conservative. Not too liberal either. Very moderate in many ways.

 

 

 

Answers in blue :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, your daughter is about 12 or 13?

 

 

1) Would you have a problem with this? I'm guessing that your daughter is about 12 or 13 since she is going into the Jr. High Group...if that is true, yes, I would have a problem with playing Halo due to its Mature rating. I'm not familiar with the other game, but if it's like Dungeons and Dragons, no, I don't think I would have a problem with that game.

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.) As for my religious beliefs, I'm not very religious. I believe in the Ten Commandments and the general rule of thumb, "Don't be an a**hole."Sorry guys, that was the best way to sum it up.

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond?

 

If I was in that situation I would speak with either the youth group leader or the youth group leader and the next person up and express my concerns about 13 year old children playing games that are rated Mature/17. If I had concerns about the other game I would express those too. I know some of our more Christian friends are bothered by things involving magic. I think it's a valid concern if it does cross the line of your comfort level and your beliefs.

 

I would probably also approach other parents that I'm friendly with and ask if they were aware of the games that were being played and see how they feel about it. If others agree with my feelings, I would have them participate in the discussion with the youth leader to help make it clear that I'm not the only parent this is not happy with the situation.

 

As far as I know these games are not currently being played by the Junior High group. Only the Senior High youth group. The youth pastor is just the authority over the Jr. high group and is mentoring the 20 yo Jr. High youth pastor. They do group activities together but I'm not aware of what games are played during those times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Role playing game, probably wouldn't have as much issue, but I still don't believe those belong in a youth group setting.

 

What irks me, even if you do allow those games at home, is that they've moved past the boundary in what should be a parental judgment call.

 

I can see this point. There are plenty of other fun card games that don't involve a fantasy element.

 

Maybe the key is to suggest alternatives instead of a list of don'ts?

 

On the other hand, looking at my game cabinet? A LOT of them have some kind of fantasy element. Is the magic carrot from Killer Bunnies okay or not? How about the pirates game? Are pirates okay or should we leave those off because they were bad guys? How about Fluxx? It's a super-fun game, but a portion of the proceeds of ALL of that company's games go toward the legalization of marijuana fund.

Edited by Mrs Mungo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Would you have a problem with this?

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.)

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond?

 

]

 

1--Yes, a big problem with Halo. The card game I would have to evaluate.

 

2--Currently a member of a Baptist church. Prior to this, seven years with EV Free.

 

3--Escalate discussion up the chain of command. Yes I would consider leaving a church over this. Violent video games have no place in a church setting. The TP diapers are also upsetting. I question the youth leader's discretion and wisdom and therefore fitness to lead impressionable youth.

 

Finally, I HATE it when churches turn the youth setting into Disneyland. Connections between youth can be fostered through games, yes, but it doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive. Often the more elaborate games actually prevent meaningful connection. Games in this setting should be minimized, and real connection fostered through prayer and sharing and the genuine friendships that grow out of that.

 

ETA--I also seriously question any youth setting or youth leader who does not welcome active partnerships WITH parents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not have a problem with people playing Magic the Gathering at youth group. I have played the game and I am familiar with how it works. It has nothing to do with Dungeons and Dragons except that they are both owned by the same company (they also own Strawberry Shortcake and Mr Potato Head)

 

My Killer Bunnies game is much more violent than Magic.

 

What Murder Role Playing game were they playing?

 

Do you object to all role playing games? Does your church have an issue with role playing games? Are you more conservative than the rest of your church? Unless your church objects to role playing games and fantasy settings then maybe you should just move on if you don't want your children exposed...not all churches bar fantasy settings, not all churches object to role playing games.

 

I would question Halo. I wouldn't be ok with very young people playing Halo but because of its mature rating and extreme violence. There are many more age appropriate games that are readily available. The issue with Halo is that it is the most popular game. So you have to question whether or not they are making bad judgement calls in order to bring in more kids. IMO you should just discuss it with your preacher rather than the youth minister.

Edited by Sis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'm not familiar with either game honestly. from your description though, yes, i do think i would have an issue with it and speak up as well. i asked my husband and he said he would also have an issue with it... especially since youth group begins with 6th grade (you said jr. high, correct??). we are united methodist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Would you have a problem with this?

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.)

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond?

 

 

 

1) YEs, BTDT. The church is giving access to kids items that they can't easily buy due to inappropriate content. While I don't think it's against the law to purchase a M rated game, a lot of stores around here will not sell a M game to any under 17without a parent (or parent looking adult) present. So if the church will sanction the playing of M games, what else will they sanction? R rated movies? What other society based (verses law based) rules will they overlook, break or ignore? IT causes me to wonder about their judgment. Especially when the youth group tends to range from 12 to 18-19 years of age. What I might overlook for my 16 year old may not be something I overlook when they are 12. KWIM?

 

2) Southern baptist

 

3)We informed the pastor, the children pastor and the youth pastor that the youth group policy (they even had Halo parties) were inappropriate and made the church look like hypocrites. (the pastor was well known for encouraging the congregation to not watch most tv/movies because the content was just bad.) That to provide such games to any child was overstepping parental boundaries and at the very least, a direct announcement should be made from the pulpit that the youth participated in such games and was a part of the church's outreach. Then those that disagreed could decide if their child should attend. at the very least we would know that our younger children could not be in the youth area due to the very likely hood of seeing inappropriate content.(1st grade siblings were watching the video playing of their 12 year old brothers!) OUr children do not attend at all. (there were other factors beyond halo)

 

 

Don't know anything about the role playing game. Would have to review that and see just what all it was but not sure that would cause me as much concern. But I don't know anything about that.

 

Good luck! IT's not an easy situation. :grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Would you have a problem with this?

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.)

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond?[/b]

 

 

 

 

My kids are young, but my dh was a YP when I met him and we served as YP for years as a married couple.

 

1) YES! Big problem!! Not only with the games, but with the YP's response to a parents genuine concern! HUGE GINORMOUS RED FLAG!!!! I wouldn't want my kids under his teaching - at all!!!! (Can I state that with any more enthusiasm?;))

 

2) Southern Baptist - not liberal, but not fundamental...LOL...pm me if that's not clear...:lol:

 

3) For the sake of the rest of the kids/parents/church, I would have to pursue this. dh and I would have a private meeting with the YP and discuss our concerns (focusing on the role of the youth ministry as extension of the church as a whole...and being church members that's us. Focusing on the authority roles of parents vs church leaders in the lives of children.) Maybe the YP is young and very naive, and you can gently guide him in a better direction. If this fails (he continues to do things that parents object to), take it to the pastor....then organize with other parents to take it to the pastor & YP together...if all else fails, I'd leave and find another church.

 

 

fwiw - My dh has had video games at youth events (not every week...special game nights), and the games were very strictly "clean" - approved by parents and brought by the kids (so the parents bought them in the first place). He has done things that parents went :001_huh: to and once he understood, he was embarrassed and fixed things. (hey, he didn't have kids yet...)

 

What this guy is trying to do is bribe kids to come to "his" group. He's missing the entire point! He's there to serve, not be served.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Would you have a problem with this?

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.)

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond?

 

1. Yes, at least on the Halo front. I'm not familiar at all with the card game, so I can't comment on that.

 

2. I'm LDS

 

3. I'd talk directly to the youth leader to start with. If that didn't, work, I'd go up to the chain to our Bishop. Our church has pretty clear policy on this kind of stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not have a problem with people playing Magic the Gathering at youth group. I have played the game and I am familiar with how it works. It has nothing to do with Dungeons and Dragons except that they are both owned by the same company (they also own Strawberry Shortcake and Mr Potato Head)

 

My Killer Bunnies game is much more violent than Magic.

 

What Murder Role Playing game were they playing?

 

Do you object to all role playing games? Does your church have an issue with role playing games? Are you more conservative than the rest of your church? Unless your church objects to role playing games and fantasy settings then maybe you should just move on if you don't want your children exposed...not all churches bar fantasy settings, not all churches object to role playing games.

 

I would question Halo. I wouldn't be ok with very young people playing Halo but because of its mature rating and extreme violence. There are many more age appropriate games that are readily available. The issue with Halo is that it is the most popular game. So you have to question whether or not they are making bad judgement calls in order to bring in more kids. IMO you should just discuss it with your preacher rather than the youth minister.

 

Thanks for giving me the full name of the game. My husband is only familiar with D&D and he saw the name on the cards and watched the kids play but couldn't figure it all out. The game may be no big deal. We are obviously not super familiar with it, but I still would prefer it not be at church given what my husband saw.

 

I don't think we are opposed to all role-playing games. I imagine if a role-playing game did not violate the standards of Scripture in regards to murder, sorcery, or modesty, I would be completely fine with it.

 

LOL. Exposed. I always love that word. We allow quite a bit of fantasy in our home, but yeah, I guess I don't want my kids going to church and being exposed to even pretend magic. The only magic I'd like to hear discussed at church is the pastor preaching on I Sam 28.

 

That probably makes me pretty conservative and yes, we will be moving on if we cannot reach an understanding with the staff.

Edited by Daisy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is the website for the game and more information.

 

http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Multiverse/

 

You can look at cards in their database

 

"]Mirrodin Besieged

"]Scars of Mirrodin

 

There are good card games that do not involve magic. I don't think you are wrong for not wanting that at church, I wouldn't object but I do see where people would disagree.

 

The problem is, he chose two of the most popular games for boys that age. Halo and Magic are what boys that age like. I do think you should discuss it with the pastor. If you object to magic being emulated then I do see where you take issue with the game.

Edited by Sis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is kinda cracking me up is that another group I belong to has a bigger problem with Mage and less of a problem with Halo.

 

I'm readily willing to admit we all have different standards. I suppose I just believe the youth group should take the high road and go play basketball or something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Daisy,

 

We are currently going through issues with our yg as well. This is for our 6th grade dd. We have approached the yp with our concerns and are blown off as the overbearing homeschool parents.

 

It seems to dh and myself that there are a myriad of activities and fun for the kids that are either seeking or very new to Christianity. There is nothing right now for kids that are a little further along in their walk and need more "meat." Dh and I feel that the Sunday morning "talks" are geared toward people that have been living outside of Christ. Yes, I know that the church is supposed to reach out and bring others to Christ, but I have a big problem with the way the YP either dumbs down the message or makes the message so "relevant" that it is no longer relevant to a Christian.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Yes I would have a problem, particularly with Halo 3. Actually, I wouldn't be thrilled with the diaper thing either.

2. No religion.

3. Either talk to the person in charge, or make sure my child wasn't there during the times that this occurs, or both.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The fact that he completely blew it off and said he saw nothing wrong with playing these games in youth group would be a huge red flag for me. What happened to glorifying God in whatever we do? Sounds to me like an immature man leading an unexamined life. All too common in churches today. I'd be looking for another church. I'm a Baptist, by the way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking back at youth activities when I was younger... I LOVED physical activities... volleyball... roller skating (there was a Christian family skate night)... and my favorite events were ones held in a gym where a lot of creative thought went into making teams and having several physical games... obstacle courses, etc. While those aren't your "weekly" events, I think that video games and those card games are a lazy persons approach to "activities". There ARE other choices. Where's pictionary? What about charades? Am I SO outdated? I don't think so... because when take the lead with those kids, divide them up and get the activities going, they respond! Also, having a variety is a key...

 

Anyway:

1. I would have a problem with both activities being at the church/in the "meeting place" (yp's house) if it were for a regular "youth group" meeting. I would NOT have a problem with it IF it was at a leader's home for a game night and the activities were specified AHEAD of time for the parents.... If I was a parent who had a problem with it, I would them talk with the yp and offer input/suggestions. Then, it would be my choice whether to particpate or not...

 

2. Baptist... although I have no idea what "branch" of Baptist we are...

 

3. (Answered in 1 above, I think...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not familiar with the games, other than by ads on TV, but isn't Halo a video game? Is there a wii or something they are using?

 

And they are gathering BEFORE youth group and AFTER youth group to play?

 

Ok, I get it's popular with boys. But when has "give it to them because it's popular" been the standard?

 

I would have a big problem.

I would find another church.

I'm a reluctant Episcopalian, and a priest's wife.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I would have issue with this, and we are liberal with gaming.

 

What irks me, even if you do allow those games at home, is that they've moved past the boundary in what should be a parental judgment call.

 

I totally agree with both statements. We allow Halo--even our 9yo plays it (without a headset so he can't hear any conversation or cursing)--but there is NO way that I'd be OK with a church making the call FOR parents. I find it to be compromising in an ethical way; sacrificing ethics for evangelism is wrong, no matter how much they want kids to get into church and (eventually? lol) hear about Christ.

 

We are non-denominational, currently attending a S. Baptist church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I would have a problem with Halo. Not sure about the card game, though. I'm non-deonimational Protestant. If after speaking with church leadership nothing was changed, then we would definitely be looking for a different church. I would not want my dc to be unable to participate in youth group.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes to the halo

 

No to dungeons and dragons. (but we read Harry potter, so....;))

 

Roman Catholic

 

I have completely given up speaking to people about these things. It is like talking to a brick wall. We just wouldn't attend.

 

What I would want to note is that youth group should be faith based and faith filled. What about those activities is based in the faith? What about those activities is filling them with faith? Is the goal to just get them in the door or the goal to impart faith?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

What I would want to note is that youth group should be faith based and faith filled. What about those activities is based in the faith? What about those activities is filling them with faith? Is the goal to just get them in the door or the goal to impart faith?

 

This is exactly what we feel. Thank you for stating it so well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be surprised to see either at our parish's CCE (through 8th grade), but it's meant to be a somewhat academic class that covers the Religion textbook the parish school uses.

 

I would be shocked by the Halo and annoyed that they were spending class time on a game. I wouldn't have the kids attend, but honestly I'm one of the least vigilant parents about mature content, so this would come to a head long before they got to anything that bugged me.

 

I'm an atheist, but the kids are Catholic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We do not observe any religion at all, but I study all of them and take ideas from several.

 

I would not be okay with either of these activities going on at a youth gathering unless I knew about them in advance. I personally would not have an issue with the cards but would not want my kids playing Halo or being around it and would be quite alarmed at that.

 

I would never involve someone else's kids with a card game like that unless the parents were fully aware and comfortable with it.

 

If I did send them to any sort of religious program, I would expect the program to offer activities that had the focus of that faith. I would not find it acceptable to offer activities that would be "appealing to kids" but did not demonstrate the values of the faith.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My oldest is 9 but I ABSOLUTELY would have a huge problem with it! I'm pretty conservative but not over the top. I'd have a problem with the Halo game, the diaper game, and the magic card game. None of those encourage teens in their faith. I get that it has to be fun too, but I don't think a church should bend to what's popular in society. I think Christ dying for our sins is exciting enough, without having to add gore or magic to draw in kids.

 

Just my opinion. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My oldest is 9 but I ABSOLUTELY would have a huge problem with it! I'm pretty conservative but not over the top. I'd have a problem with the Halo game, the diaper game, and the magic card game. None of those encourage teens in their faith. I get that it has to be fun too, but I don't think a church should bend to what's popular in society. I think Christ dying for our sins is exciting enough, without having to add gore or magic to draw in kids.

 

Just my opinion. :D

 

I pretty much agree and I am not conservative. What you are saying just seems like common sense to me. :) I don't think I would have huge objection (except to Halo..I am not ok with younger kids playing M rated games) but I would prefer that not go on AT church. I also do not think churches shoul bend towards what is popular. If it was a seperate activity then I wouldn't take issue with it.

 

We have those games but don't expect to play them at church. We DO have all sorts of games we can play with more conservative people if we are hanging out like Settlers of Catan, Fluxx and Apples to Apples.

Edited by Sis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would have a problem with it b/c there are enough other parents out there who would have a problem with it.

 

We allow our kids to play Halo, but I understand that other parents aren't comfortable with it. To me, this is a matter of not offending a brother (or sister!). The leadership should have the sense to know that other parents don't allow those games, and that they shouldn't set up the kids to have to choose between obedience and conformity.

 

We are non-denominational evangelical, and if this were going on at youth group, and our concerns were being blown off, we wouldn't send our kids. I'm so sick and tired of youth group being used as mainly "outreach", which seems to mean "conform to the world." And, I'm so thankful that our youth group isn't this way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are non-denominational Protestants. I don't think the M video games or the card game are appropriate.

 

What would the pastor think about adults playing the same games in the foyer before service? Would that be a way of getting folks to come to service? How about running important sports broadcasts behind the altar as long as the sound was off? It might get more people into the pews on Sundays.

 

Reasons that I object:

 

1. Allowing/encouraging kids to play a game rated M for mature undermines what restrictions their parents may be placing on gaming at home. I am not a fan of games rated M (although I have on occasion allowed my kids to play Halo with friends). This would put my kids in a position of having to be the square kids who aren't allowed to play or to lie to their parents about what they were doing. I don't think that the church should be putting kids into this position.

 

2. There is a limited amount of time that the youth group has contact with these kids each week. Why waste a portion of it on a game that they can get time with anywhere? If you are really looking for just something fun for the kids to do before the main event, isn't that a great opportunity to teach them some fun classic games? Card games (other than Mage, which put other kids into the same situation as Halo), board games, service activities, crafts (real hobby type crafts, not junk), physical sports, etc.

 

3. It undermines the message of the gospel, which theoretically is the reason why you are associating with a church in the first place. Imagine that you have a message about the past actions of the creator of the universe. This message not only provides insight into the workings of the universe, but clarifies the purpose of man and the means of coming closer to the Creator. But then you add in a bunch of other activities because this gospel alone is too boring to attract anyone's attention. So why would someone think that it was all that important. Past and present Christians have died because of their faith and in the course of telling others about God. And yet it requires video games to get people's attention. Really?

 

Is this a hill to die on? Yeah, maybe. It suggests to me a bit of immaturity on the part of the youth pastoral staff. It suggests that they hold the youth in some contempt as being unable to process the meaning and implications of the gospel, instead of treating them, like Timothy, as being able to not only understand the gospel but live it out. It positions youth staff as good cop with parents as bad cop, instead of seeing parents and staff and youth as brothers and sisters in Christ, created to glorify God.

 

The church we're currently investigating does occasional laser tag. Somehow I see that more as technological dodge ball or capture the flag. It is theatre of the mind rather than graphics on screen. Though it is still rather on the borderline.

 

I probably would not just bow out gracefully (but you'd probably already guessed that). I might tell my kids that we considered them adult enough to grow as fellow believers, but that we also judged the youth activities to not be glorifying to God. We would either skip or find a different church. I would definitely have a conversation with the youth staff along with some other senior members of the church leadership (pastors or elders) to explain our concerns and why we were not doing youth group or why we were looking for a new church. I think that if you consider the church to be fellow believers, then you do owe them making your concerns very clear. They can choose to agree or not. But I don't think you do a service to just fade away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are having a bit of a situation with our church's youth group.

 

The content of the actual service is fine.

 

The problem is that they are playing what several parents feel are inappropriate games before and after.

 

Two months ago the senior pastor acknowledged that the girls putting toilet paper diapers on the boys unbelievable!!! :confused::confused:was inappropriate and that he would call an end to that. At the time though he said he had no problem with another game that was being played; a murder role-playing game. I hate this type of game. In our youth group one girl was assigning roles to each kid...town drunk, town wh0re etc. oh, joy :glare:

 

This past Wednesday my husband went to youth group just to check it out. Our daughter will soon be in the Jr High group which is run by the youth pastor so we are trying to familiarize ourselves with it all. He was completely shocked to find teens playing Halo 3 (rated M for Mature 17+) and a Mage card game (fantasy role-playing with magic. Dungeon & Dragonish) AT YOUTH GROUP.

 

When asked the youth pastor completely blew my husband off as being an over-reactive homeschool parent. grrr! Our youth 'leader' also doesn't get it that parents should care! He says he has no problem with either game and that they are a great way to bring kids into the youth group. Yo, dude! Doesn't matter if you have a problem!

 

Obviously you can see our opinion of the games just in the slant of my writing, but I want to ask all of you...

1) Would you have a problem with this? yes, big, huge problem

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.) non-denom Christian

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond? go to leadership of the church because I know they wouldn't allow it if they knew it was happening...our youth dude keeps things to himself and tries to run the youth as his own little kingdom (yes, this is a problem and it is being addressed...too slowly for my taste but more kindly than I would deal :tongue_smilie:)

 

It would be helpful to discover if we really are the odd balls in this issue or if others would agree.

 

We basically have to decide how far we want to pursue it with the church staff. Do we just bow out gracefully and look for another church, do we continue to attend but not allow our children to participate in youth activities at our church (wow, that would stink for them) or do we continue to voice our concerns to the staff and hope for a change? this...because it's harmful for the other kids too.

 

Let me clarify that I'm not asking whether you'd allow these in your own home. That is your choice. I'm asking whether you'd appreciate them at youth group.

 

FYI: There was another thread where someone shared a great youth group mission statement. I'll see if I can link to it. I hope our group does something similar because it would really help in addressing stuff like this.

:grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't know if you want my opinion, but for what it's worth

 

Yes, I would have a huge problem with it. It would honestly be a dealbreaker to me. That said, I found it to be a common attitude ("It brings kids to church!") in evangelical Baptist & Southern Baptist churches in our area. It's part of the reason I started looking elsewhere for my religious needs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Yes, I would have a problem with it. I didn't think it was possible, but we are now in a small church with a wonderful youth group. The entire Wednesday night service is dedicated to teaching the children from the book Concise Theology by J.I. Packer. The kids are challenged, are encouraged to think and discuss what is being taught. Games and even Music are not apart of the evening and really, I don't think games should be. Those are left to teen get togethers and they are appropriate games.

 

2) We are Reformed Baptist. My husband used to be a youth pastor as well. LOL, we left because it seemed the parents and kids wanted a lot of what you described. We knew that we were not willing to lead like that and we certainly wouldn't want our kids in that environment.

 

3) I doubt bringing this to the leadership is going to change things. Something like this would be incredibly difficult to change and a lot of people would either pull their kids out of youth group or even leave the church. The good thing is that the people who are serious about God will still be there and you will have the beginnings of a strong core of students and parents. It also seems your youth pastor is the wrong youth pastor for what you want to achieve. My advise would be to pray and seek out a new youth group and possibly church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, to your bolded question. There have been individual meetings between the youth pastor, senior pastor, and several families. No "parent" meeting though. The response from staff is basically that parents also call them to complain that youth group is too boring. These games make youth group fun. Otherwise kids will stop coming. :glare:

 

Parents might have complained that the group is too boring. I think that my kids might well say that if they thought it was purposeless. Boring is a teen word. They are less likely to say that they find it pointless, irrelevant or purposeless. That may well be what they mean.

 

How about having the youth make and serve meals for downtown missions or serve homeless families through Family Promise, or sort canned goods for the church food pantry. What about having good philosophical and theological discussions (don't teens want people who will actually listen to them and talk with them as if they take them seriously)?

 

Church ought to be presenting something unique. Not just the offerings of the world.

 

 

(FWIW, I have the same conversations with scout leaders. You don't gain a foothold in teen's busy lives by offering the same thing they can get everywhere else. You offer them opportunities to participate in a group they are allowed to plan and lead. You give them outdoor adventure experiences. For the church, you give them opportunities to grow in Christ and practice godly lives.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I would want to note is that youth group should be faith based and faith filled. What about those activities is based in the faith? What about those activities is filling them with faith? Is the goal to just get them in the door or the goal to impart faith?

 

I think Christ dying for our sins is exciting enough, without having to add gore or magic to draw in kids.

 

 

 

I would have a problem with it b/c there are enough other parents out there who would have a problem with it.

 

We allow our kids to play Halo, but I understand that other parents aren't comfortable with it. To me, this is a matter of not offending a brother (or sister!). The leadership should have the sense to know that other parents don't allow those games, and that they shouldn't set up the kids to have to choose between obedience and conformity.

 

 

 

:iagree:

 

Update: I wanted to add that I think churches that don't have a tradition of catechism or confirmation sometimes end up with the youth in sort of a rudderless existence. They are too old for nursery or Sunday School, but not really inducted into the community of believers. Our job as parents and fellow believers should be to help move them to a mature relationship with God and with the body of believers. Not only do they have much to learn, but they have a lot to teach us about living Godly and relevant lives (it is easy to lose sight of this in the daily grind of adult responsibilities).

 

All over the country you've got youth starting non-profits and advocacy groups (like this one on Christian defense of natural spaces) and then we tell them to sit and play Halo like complacent kids because that's all we can expect of them. And we wonder why they think church is boring once they hit college.

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Parents might have complained that the group is too boring. I think that my kids might well say that if they thought it was purposeless. Boring is a teen word. They are less likely to say that they find it pointless, irrelevant or purposeless. That may well be what they mean.

 

How about having the youth make and serve meals for downtown missions or serve homeless families through Family Promise, or sort canned goods for the church food pantry. What about having good philosophical and theological discussions (don't teens want people who will actually listen to them and talk with them as if they take them seriously)?

 

Church ought to be presenting something unique. Not just the offerings of the world.

 

 

(FWIW, I have the same conversations with scout leaders. You don't gain a foothold in teen's busy lives by offering the same thing they can get everywhere else. You offer them opportunities to participate in a group they are allowed to plan and lead. You give them outdoor adventure experiences. For the church, you give them opportunities to grow in Christ and practice godly lives.)

 

Exactly! That was the youth group experience that my husband and I had growing up. So much has changed but I think teens still want to feel necessary, useful. They want to make a difference!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. We'd definitely have a problem with the video game... I'm not sure about the role playing game. I'd want to check it out though. I am more lenient about that kind of thing than the majority of parents at our church, though, so I don't think it would EVER be an activity at our church youth group.

 

2. Evangelical Presbyterian.

 

3. I agree with Jean; I'd look for another church where my kids could participate with the youth. It is no fun to be the one who doesn't go to stuff.

 

1. I think I know what roleplaying game that is and it would not bother me overly. The video game I know nothing about. Even though rated M, could it be played with "Gore off" or something?

 

2. Baptist

 

3. Depends on the vibe I got after talking to youth group. Given previous though... I may well be looking for another church if I can not trust my kids in the youth group at current church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't know if you want my opinion, but for what it's worth

 

Yes, I would have a huge problem with it. It would honestly be a dealbreaker to me. That said, I found it to be a common attitude ("It brings kids to church!") in evangelical Baptist & Southern Baptist churches in our area. It's part of the reason I started looking elsewhere for my religious needs.

 

Of course. I value your opinion. I think it is a dealbreaker for us also.

Edited by Daisy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Yes, I would have a problem with it. I didn't think it was possible, but we are now in a small church with a wonderful youth group. The entire Wednesday night service is dedicated to teaching the children from the book Concise Theology by J.I. Packer. The kids are challenged, are encouraged to think and discuss what is being taught. Games and even Music are not apart of the evening and really, I don't think games should be. Those are left to teen get togethers and they are appropriate games.

 

 

 

Wow, I'm in love. Where do you live because I'm moving there. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Diapers--no way.

 

2. Murder role-playing --it depends on what this is. We played a game like this in high school that involved a deck of cards. One's marked w/ an x; whoever gets that card is the "killer" & "kills" people by winking at them. You have to guess who the killer is before you get killed. It was a lot of fun, & I'd be fine w/ that.

 

3. Video games rated M--nope.

 

4. Dungeons & Dragons--nope.

 

The combination of what you've described is very disconcerting because, imo, it implies a lack of judgement on the part of the leadership. Fwiw, though, I don't plan to have my dc involved in youth group at all, & I'm pretty conservative on what I think would be appropriate in that regard. Still, this seems to me to be beyond the realm of what most people in churches I've seen would accept.

 

I'd describe myself as non-denominational. I can't remember what else you asked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Would you have a problem with this?

 

Absolutely. Completely, utterly unacceptable.

 

2) If willing, will you tell me the denomination of your church and/or your religious beliefs (or lack of said). (Just trying to get some idea of whether particular denominations would be more or less likely to condone this. Especially helpful if faced with the need to start church hunting.)

 

Episcopal (liberal)

 

3) If faced with a similar situation, how would you respond?

 

I would pull my kids out of youth group immediately. I'd talk to any other parents I am close to in order to determine if there was a significant number of other parents who were similarly concerned. If I could determine that at least 1/4 or so of the parents were appalled, then I'd consider asking the head minister/priest to lead a meeting with youth group leaders & parents to discuss. I'd hope for serious change.

 

However, frankly, I doubt I'd ever trust the leaders with my children again, so I'd most likely end participation in youth group +/- leave the church. I faced a different in details situation with a newly forming youth grp in our church, and after trying & failing to motivate a change of heart, I realized I was alone in my concerns, and ended up leaving the church to avoid being a source of disharmony in a church I loved, but one that was struggling with change and new, fragile leadership that wouldn't have benefited from my input. :( So, if I were faced with a similar situation today, I'd probably bow out of youth group w/o saying much of anything. . . b/c I have had little success in motivating change.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...