Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 18, 1954
NUMBER 40, PAGE 3,6b

Youth Director-- California Capers

L. L. Stout, Long Beach, California

In our generation there are many trends leading toward digression. I believe one of the major issues facing the church is "church sponsored recreation and entertainment."

I recognize my responsibility in writing on this subject, but whenever a danger is facing the church of our Lord, true servants of God must contend earnestly for the truth as revealed in the New Testament. However, I want it clearly understood that I am not opposed to wholesome recreation and entertainment. I fully believe that it is necessary and essential for our well being, but I do question the scripturalness of the church furnishing such recreation and entertainment, and employing a "YOUTH DIRECTOR" to supervise such.

The mission of the church is two-fold, namely; (1) To preach the gospel (Ephesians 3:10) and (2) To care for its needy. (Matthew 25:30-40; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15) But, nowhere in the New Testament will you find where the church is to furnish recreation and entertainment for its members.

"The church is the pillar and ground (or support) of the truth." (1st Timothy 3:15) Therefore, if a congregation engages in any activity that the New Testament does not authorize either by direct command, approved example, or necessary inference, it has gone beyond, the teaching of Christ and therefore has not God. (2 John 8:9)

The gospel is to be preached to every creature. (Mark 16:16) God does not have one gospel for the youth, and another gospel for the adult, but one gospel for all. What is applicable for one is also applicable for the other. The gospel is not to be perverted. (Galatians 1:6-9)

There have been many innovations and digressions here on the west coast, but there have always been loyal brethren to withstand these digressions, and to contend earnestly for the purity of the gospel.

A few years ago Brother Earnest Beam headed a move to get brethren to fellowship the Christian Church while still in their error. But loyal Christians withstood this error, and finally Brother Beam was ousted from the Central congregation here in Long Beach. Shortly thereafter he moved to Los Gatos, California, to preach for the Christian Church. He has recently returned to Southern California and is again sowing his destructive heresy. Brother Beam is now preaching for the Lakewood Church of Christ, where they have services both with and without the instrument.

But another innovation has been introduced here in Long Beach by the Uptown Church of Christ meeting at 1707 Atlantic Avenue where C. Wayland James is the preacher, and Don Hardage is the newly acquired, YOUTH DIRECTOR.

This apostasy has been gradual. It did not happen overnight. A few years ago the "rotating eldership" was introduced and accepted by this congregation. This is a strict violation of the Divine order of organization. About two years ago this (former Ninth and Lime) congregation moved into their new building. This building included a large recreation hall. This hall is equipped with a basketball court and other facilities for recreation and entertainment.

On November 8, 1953 this announcement appeared in their church paper. "An expansion program as envisioned by your elders, deacons, and ministers include: (a) Building to be arranged or extended to accommodate 750 members with church-school of 600. (b) Employ an evangelist for the youth of the church."

You can see from this announcement that this congregation is patterning after the Christian Church, and not after the New Testament. A few years ago the Christian Church began to cater to the young people. They too employed evangelists for the youth, and it was not long until they were holding separate services on Lord's Day, having the "YOUTH CHURCH" and the "ADULT CHURCH."

Then on November 22, 1953 from the pen of Brother James this appeared in their church paper: "The boys and girls of this church and of this community are now being given FIRST PRIORITY in prayers, planning and program of this congregation! To prove this just read slowly this announcement from our elders: A fulltime YOUTH DIRECTOR has been employed. He is expected to arrive in Long Beach within the next three or four days and will take up his duties immediately."

You will notice in this announcement that the youth is given "FIRST PRIORITY." The New Testament teaches that God is no respecter of person. (Rom. 2:11; Acts 10:34, 35) God gives no one "FIRST PRIORITY," and when we do, we make respect of person and in so doing we commit sin. (James 2:9) This congregation is sinning by making respect of persons.

Where in the New Testament does an eldership have the scriptural authority (they are to rule according to the will of the Lord — 1st Peter 5:2) to employ a "YOUTH DIRECTOR" to supervise recreation and entertainment? God has placed the responsibility upon the parents to supply wholesome recreation and entertainment for their children. This is the duty of the home and not the church.

These brethren acknowledge being the first to employ a "YOUTH DIRECTOR." In the Long Beach Press Telegram on December 5, 1953, an article appeared under this caption: Uptown Folk Engage New Youth Chief." Here is an excerpt from the article: "Uptown Church of Christ, Atlantic Avenue and 37th Street, is credited with being the first congregation of that denomination to employ a director of youth, according to the leaders of the local church."

I realize that newspaper reporters write many things that are not as they should be, and I am certain that the Uptown brethren would not acquiesce to all that appeared in the article, but it is obvious that they gave the reporter the information that they were the FIRST TO EMPLOY A YOUTH DIRECTOR.

The old Olive Street Church in St. Louis boasted of being the first congregation to bring in the organ. Now the Uptown congregation is boasting of being the first in this latest digression.

Loyal Christians of Long Beach and elsewhere are again called upon to take a definite stand against this latest apostasy. There are four loyal congregations in Long Beach, and they are standing firm against all digression, "Having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them." (Eph. 5:11)


The Uptown congregation is now having TWO separate services on Lord's Day morning, one for the YOUTH, and one for the Adult. These services are simultaneous.