After watching the sermon by David Platt, one young person asked an important question. I think it is such an important question that I am answering it in a new post.
Hi Pastor Chris. I thought that sermon was very interesting. I liked the part about the people in Asia who asked him to keep preaching for 8 hours. But I was wondering if it’s bad to have fun at church. Like, at youth group, we play games. But I also learn from the lesson. Is the game time bad?
Thanks for considering my question.
Your question of whether or not is incredibly important. My emphatic answer is this. Not only is it okay for you to have fun at church. It would be wrong if you never had fun at church.
Joy is one of the of the distinguishing marks of a Christian. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). While joy is deeper and greater than simple fun, it certainly includes fun.
Think about Nehemiah 8:10:
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
You can read the whole story in Nehemiah, but God’s people were encouraged to celebrate.
When we laugh and enjoy one another and live together in unity, this is glorifying to God – - -indeed, God’s blessing is present there in a special way (Psalm 133). And this includes teens doing silly games. That is sharing life together.
Of course, we must also balance this point that fun is a legitimate part of fellowship by understanding that if all we ever did was play games at church, or if this was our focus at church, then that would be wrong. The central activities of the church are studying God’s Word, sharing life together, worship, and prayer (Acts 2:42). This is especially true on the Lord’s Day when we should worship our King together explicitly.
You might respond, “Well, Pastor Platt didn’t seem to be in favor of fun!” He thinks we should just do missions.
But David Platt’s point was not that Christians should not have fun. Rather, he was making the point that we should follow Christ in radical ways. We should seek first the Kingdom (Matthew 6:33). Part of the reason why it is hard to understand Platt’s point is that a paradox is involved. Remember that Jesus said:
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Those who give everything to follow Christ, find everything. And laughter and joy and fun are part of the ways that God blesses.
Here is a follow up question which should be asked. “Are youth groups in America typically not having enough fun?” And the answer is, “Oh, they’re having plenty of fun. But far too many teens who profess faith are not really interested in worshiping Christ and meeting Him in His Word. That is the real problem.”
It’s late, and this post is long, so I’ll stop my rambling answer. I’ll leave it to you and others to follow up with more comments!