There appears to be two major views about youth ministry today.
One camp view is that "we're asking the church to do what God designed the family to accomplish. Discipleship and multi-generational faithfulness begins and ends at home. At be, the church is to play a supporting role as it, equips the saints for the ministry."
The other camp believes that if we are going to reclaim the next generation, then the home and the church must join forces like never before.
Although both camps are correct in their assessment of the role of the family and of the church; however, among the Christian urban teenagers the family is broken. After twenty-one years of ministry experience of talking, teaching these young people, and witnessing their struggle with fatherlessness I've realized that their struggle is greater than even they can fathom. Most Christian urban youth come from dysfunctional families where in many cases fathers aren't home, and the mothers must work to support the family.
The statistics of these adolescents are that "young men who grow up in homes without their fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who grow up with traditional two-parent families...these boys whose fathers were absent from the household had double the odds of being incarcerated--even when other factors such as race, income, parent education, and place of residence held constant. These satatistics were cited by Cynthia Harper of the University of Pennsylvania and Sara S. McLanahan of Princeton University in Father Absence and Youth Incarceration.
If the Body of Christ believes that in the 21st century the sole responsiblity to disciple these Christian urban youth lies with their families, we have all but lost a generation and the future church. On the other hand, if the church believes it's in a crisis, then it must act now and come besides the parents/single parent as the church. If not, it may be witnessing the unfolding of a lawless generation rather than a Godly generation.
Psalms 11:3 states:
"If the foundations are destroyed, what can the [unyieldingly] righteous do, or what has He [the Righteous One] wrought or accomplished?"
As the Body of Christ is witnessing the destruction of family, and possibly future believers in the twenty-first century, thus it must pray for this moral and spiritual foundation to be rebuilt in this generation.