I’m not a fan of church youth groups. For one thing, youth groups largely segregate teenagers from the mature Christians in the church during a time in their life when they need the influence of godly adults. Less important, but still important, the concept of “teenagers” is a modern invention born out of luxury and leisure. As such, much of teen culture is toxic and self-serving. Church youth groups often steer into the frivolous worship of individualism and the silliness of teen culture when the church should be pushing back against self-serving idolatry. Case in point: a youth group in Covington, Ga., set the Guinness World Record for creating the world’s largest whoopee cushion.
Matt Funk, the youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Covington, told The Covington News, “I have been wanting to break a Guinness World Record with the youth group for years, so I had some research. I just kind of dug into various records that I thought we could break and when I stumbled upon the record for that one, I felt like it was doable.”
He contacted Lee Burgess, the owner of Affordable Moonwalks, and told the local businessman about his plan. Burgess not only agreed to help, but was excited about the idea. In fact, he had a large stock of Pepto-Bismol pink vinyl, a color that’s not in high demand.
After constructing several smaller prototypes, the duo was able to break the previous world record, a whoopee cushion constructed by a New Zealand radio station that measured 19 feet, 9.48 inches in diameter. First Baptist Church of Covington’s whoopee cushion smashed that record at 25 feet in diameter.
Officials from the Guinness World Records did not attend the event when the church unveiled the whoopee cushion at Covington’s town square. Instead of forking out the 10K that it would’ve cost the church to have an official on hand, the event was documented on video and then submitted to Guinness World Records.
The youth pastor defended his church’s use of time and resources on making a giant whoopee cushion by insisting, “As you may know, first Baptist churches sometimes have the reputation of being kind of stuffy and stuck-up and that sort of thing and it was kind of an opportunity to show the community that FBC has a fun and lighthearted side as well and we’re not afraid to let loose a little bit… pun intended.”
There’s a saying that what a church uses to attract people is what the church is going to have to use to keep them coming back. Youth groups that turn church into entertainment with a theme park feel are not doing teenagers any favors. Teenagers are being taught that Christianity exists to cater to them and provide them with amusement.