Fighting the Invisible Enemy — Programs

We love to fight. We love to draw lines in the sand and choose sides. We love to be for something and against something else.

“I’m missional.”
“Church is only for believers.”
“I’m against big churches.”
“I can’t stand churches who use flashy lights.”
“All youth ministry kids believe in an Moralistic Therapeutic Deistic God.”

And the most popular one as of late?
“I am against programs.”

What the heck does that even mean? To be against programs?

At Luther Seminary, a majority of the youth ministry students in a class I took were just against “programs.” I just read a comment on a fellow-bloggers site that conveyed the idea that programs were somehow the enemy of the church.

Honestly, I seriously don’t get it. I don’t get…
A) What people mean by programs?
B) What they would do instead of programs?
C) Are they doing something else that is working?

In other words, like all the above statements, some Christians love to fight an invisible enemy.

This “program” guy doesn’t really exist. Just like there isn’t a single Christian leader in the world that doesn’t want to be missional in some shape or form. Or a single (honest) Christian leader who doesn’t want to reach more and more people for Christ and thus helping build a “large” church. Or an entire youth ministry of a MTD-believing group of kids.

These are INVISIBLE enemies. Satan loves to get us focusing on things that don’t exist so he can distract us from actually achieving a mission.

What do people probably mean by programs? I’m guessing they are opposed to youth group nights, events, or camps. They are opposed to any sort of organization of a worship night, any sort of media, or creative elements.

In other words — these people are against reaching people for Christ.

Somewhere in their convoluted minds, they believe young people are only reached if God whispers in their ear at night or if we just “hang” out with them in some lonely coffee shop. While I don’t doubt either of those things can happen, it appears to me Christians have been using strategies or “programs” to reach people as long as Christ was alive.

Stop fighting the invisible enemy of programs. Go do something to partner with God in reaching young people.

PS. I realize this is a more emotional post. I feel strongly that we spend so much time being against things that don’t actually exist. However, I also realize by writing how much I despise fighting invisible enemies, I am displaying how I am “against” something. Ah well…

4 thoughts on “Fighting the Invisible Enemy — Programs

  1. Amazing post. I love the invisible enemy concept. Thank you for saying what my heart’s been screaming but didn’t know how to get out!

  2. Do they mean program centered ministry? Or having programs in general?

    I confess I have said as much. What I meant was that I don’t care for ministry where the program is the focus. One of the churches I worked for cared way more about their programs than they did about people. I learned a phrase that made sense to me then.

    Programs happen when practices don’t. In other words, programs are needed when people aren’t already doing what they should.

    So, I apologize. I should be more clear when I say I don’t like programs. Not that any of this was directed specifically at me.

    Now, off to find a visible enemy.

  3. Hey Paul!
    No! None of this was directed at you at all! Haha. I get what you are saying too. When programs become more important than people, we’ve got a problem! But no, this wasn’t directed at any particular person, just more what I’ve been reading lately…



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