1. Matthew 18:20 – When two or more are gathered…
This is often used in defense of youth church, or youth groups being a church alternative.
‘Well all you need for church is two or three believers and a cheeky Nandos… boom!’
‘Me and my mate do church in the car listening to Hillsong!’
There’s two whopping problems with this:
- God is in lots of places that aren’t church; that’s kinda the deal with omnipresence. God’s presence alone doesn’t make something church.
- Church is lots of other things than just gathering (or in the actual context of the verse, correction and discipline). Church should probably include things like worship, teaching, scripture reading, a wider variety of people, sacraments etc. too.
Making a specific group is fine – but using this verse to call your group group ‘church’ is a little bit naughty! Being Christian does not equal being church. #wristslap
2. Jeremiah 29:11 – I have an epic plan for you…
‘God has an amazing (kinda) plan for your life (true if you add an ’s’) which, if you find it (how?), you will never get bored, hurt, needy, depressed, or confused (just no).’
We use this to help us push through hardship in the hope of getting to something better by tapping into God’s secret blueprint for our lives.
The problem though is, in context, this is not what God was offering to the Israelites. He was not promising to sort out their struggles and send them home from exile. In v.7 he says they can prosper right where they are.
This verse is not about some individual future blessing or plan, its about the whole people of God communicating with and depending on Him right slap bang in the middle of suffering and trial. And isn’t that so much better? Teach that instead!
3. 1 Timothy 4:12 – Don’t let anyone look down on you because of your youth…
This is one of those weird greek words that could basically mean anyone under the age of forty. Timothy was about 15-16 when Paul met him on his missionary journey (Acts 16:1), but the letter was written about 14 years later. This makes Tim around 30!
Even though the sentiment is true, there are better examples of actually young people who did amazing things in the Bible – like the disciples.