Boat Rides on the Columbia (By Doug Fincher)

May 22, 2017 - “Study to show yourself approved unto God…rightly dividing the Word of Truth…”

In the 1960, I became pastor the Woodlawn Baptist Church of Portland, Oregon.  When our youth attendance began to decline one spring, I learned that the Holcomb Avenue Baptist Church (a neighboring church) was offering them boat rides on the Columbia River as a reward for their church attendance.  Churches commonly use attractions like Colorado skiing trips, beach parties, and other entertainment to attract youth to church services. 

We were never offered this kind entertainment when I attended church as a youth.  Instead, we enjoyed exercises like “Sword Drills” where the teacher called out a text and we competed to see who could find it first in our Bibles.   We brought our Bibles to all services and after a weekly visitation program, we were served refreshments at the church. 
Has entertainment overshadowed the spiritual thrust of the church and have we sold our youth to shallow loyalties?  Are we teaching them how to serve… or just how to be served? 
Good social activities for our youth are valuable tools but things like boat rides on the Columbia will only pay off…
….if it gets them on the Ship of Zion