I have never been a fan of youth ministry as it is conceived within the Catholic Church. We have 2,000 years of doctrine, liturgy, art, and music upon which to draw in order to bolster the faith and Catholic identity of our youth and we give them watered down doctrine, bad music, bad liturgy, and felt banners. Our youth deserve more.

So it is that I am amenable to drawing the same conclusion that many pastors are now forumlating. That “Modern Youth Ministry a ’50-Year Failed Experiment.

The film is produced by the National Center for Family Integrated Churches in association with LeClerc Brothers Motion Pictures. The producers released the documentary earlier this month online, and have made it available for free until Sept. 15.

“Divided” follows “edgy twenty-something” Christian filmmaker Philip LeClerc on a quest to find answers to why his generation is increasingly turning away from attending church. Recent surveys have shown that as many as 85 percent of young people will leave the church and many never return.

NCFIC Director Scott T. Brown told The Christian Post that today’s modern concept of youth ministry is a “50-year failed experiment.” Brown said that when he was a church leader in the ’70s and ’80s he could have been the “poster boy” for the youth ministry movement in California. However, he said he now feels that dividing children from adults at church is an unbiblical concept borrowed from humanistic philosophies.

“The church has become divided generationally,” Brown said. “It’s not doing what Scripture prescribes and is actually doing something foreign to Scripture by dividing people by age or by life stage.”

As Catholics, we should be teaching our young about the glories and difficulties of our faith, about our rich history, about the music created by masters for God’s own purpose. We hide our riches from the young and as a result they go looking elsewhere for it.

I grew up with this garbage and I always knew it was garbage. Kids are not stupid. We should teach them good doctrine, good liturgy, and good music. If we teach them, if we pass it on, they will stay.

ht ‏ @amywelborn2