A church family should provide the ingredients that will allow its young to grow and mature. Parents provide food and shelter, instruction and correction, love and patience. So a congregation should be able to provide the same things for their young. When I was an infant I was fenced in for my protection: crib, playpen; as I grew to adolescence I was given more freedom but still with limitations; and as I progressed there were fewer restraints. As a teen, if I had been put back into a playpen, I would have rebelled! If I had been spooned baby food, I would have spit it out! A playpen is safe and baby food healthy, but they are for infants. There are congregations that never allow their young out of the playpen. They believe they are protecting them, but they end up losing them. Force feeding “sound doctrine” does not grow strong Christians. There comes a point in our lives when we want to think for ourselves. If we are not allowed, then we will find a place where we will be allowed. When I read the comments of young adults who have left the church of their upbringing, most often it if because they were not allowed any freedom to do their own thinking. Personally, I choose not to read certain sources, nor attend certain gatherings, because I don’t want my food pre-chewed and half-digested. I’d rather think through matters for myself and make my own judgments. I believe most of us feel the same way. So in my teaching and preaching I try to leave a degree of openness for diversity (unless it is so obvious as to be without question). Don’t interpret this as a lack of standing for what I believe is right. Rather, see it as providing a safe haven where the young are provided time and shelter to grow. This approach requires far more patience, but I do believe it is in harmony with the say the Lord himself deals with us. If the Lord was not patient with us, then where would any of us be?