59 Percent of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Dropped Out—And They’re Trying to Tell Us Why
Today I want to look at a subject that is a little different from what we usually cover. I came across an article of Facebook that bothers me a bit. Some thing just doesn’t seem right about it. It deals with the spiritual attitude in America.
Barna Research came out with a study that found that 59% of millennials raised in church have dropped out. I don’t know who the author is. I want to cover the highlights. It gives 12 points on why millennials are leaving church. I think the author missed one important point, and that is our colleges. Once our young people go to college the move away from their accountability, their influence, their home church, pastor, etc. The are free from these things and the professors are destroying their faith and values. This is not even mentioned.
Let’s look at the reasons given in the article. I might sound a little old-fashioned and unsympathetic, but bear with me.
1. Nobody’s Listening to Us
Millennials value voice and receptivity above all else. When a church forges ahead without ever asking for our input we get the message loud and clear: Nobody cares what we think. Why then, should we blindly serve an institution that we cannot change or shape?
I have no idea what “value voice” means. Maybe it means that churches are to listen to them and give them what they want. I see a lot of red flags in this. It seems they are saying, We are the young people, and we want church done our way, we want you to follow us. They ask why they should follow blindly an institution. This tells us a lot. The church is more than an institution, this is the Body of Christ.
Millennials are very guilty of whining and complaining when they don’t get their way. I almost want to say, suck it up buttercup. This may seem a little mean and nasty, but the young people are trying to tell the older people who have experienced the mistakes of youth how things should be done. I want to tell them, yours is not the only generation who was dismissed and ignored by it’s elders. I remember feeling ignored in my youth. I now know I was foolish in my youth, like most people.
The issue is RESPECT. They want respect, but respect is earned, it is not just given. A lot of our millennials are not doing things that earn respect.
2. We’re Sick of Hearing About Values & Mission Statements
Stop wasting time on the religious mambo jambo and get back to the heart of the gospel. If you have to explain your mission and values to the church, it’s overly-religious and much too complicated.
I can agree with this point. Too much time is given to business techniques. This is the body of Christ. The church is not an organization, it is an organism.
3. Helping the Poor Isn’t a Priority
Stop creating more Bible studies and Christian activity. Community happens best in service with a shared purpose.
I don’t like the idea of stopping Bible studies, I think we need more of them. We need more doctrine being taught in our churches because a big part of the problem in them is that the people are doctrinally illiterate.
It is true, we do need to be serving the less fortunate. Part of the problem is that the government has taken over the service that the Church used to give to the poor. The problem with the government doing this is that there is no accountability, but when the churches do it, there is. The churches will help people solve the problems that are causing the needs.
4. We’re Tired of You Blaming the Culture
Perhaps it’s easier to focus on how terrible the world is out there than actually address the mess within.
I don’t know if they are saying stop blaming the millennial culture, or what, Again, I want to say suck it up buttercup. It seems to me that millennials are too sensitive to criticism. The fault is not the millennials, it is the broken down family. Many millennials are raised in homes without a father. They don’t have the love, correction, and guidance in the home that they need. Others have both parents, but they are neglected. They push the kids off on TV and video games and are not really involved in their kids lives. As a result the children are growing up not knowing how to handle the issues they face.
We do need to stop complaining about the problems in our culture, and start doing something about them. This is why say, Stand at the corner of truth and courage. Know the truth, and have the courage to do something about it.
5. The “You Can’t Sit With Us” Affect:
There is this life-changing movie all humans must see, regardless of gender. The film is of course the 2004 classic Mean Girls.
In the film, the most popular girl in school forgets to wear pink on a Wednesday (a cardinal sin), to which Gretchen Weiners screams, “YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!”
Today, my mom said to me, “Church has always felt exclusive and ‘cliquey,’ like high school.” With sadness in her voice she continued, “and I’ve never been good at that game so I stopped playing.”
The truth is, I share her experience. As do thousands of others.
Until the church finds a way to be radically kinder and more compassionate than the world at large, we tell outsiders they’re better off on their own. And the truth is, many times they are.
Not sure where they get this idea? They don’t get this from the church I attend.
6. Distrust & Misallocation of Resources
Millennials, more than any other generation, don’t trust institutions, for we have witnessed over and over how corrupt and self-serving they can be.
Why should thousands of our hard-earned dollars go toward a mortgage on a multi-million dollar building that isn’t being utilized to serve the community, or to pay for another celebratory bouncy castle when that same cash-money could provide food, clean water and shelter for someone in need?
It is true that there is waste, and there are charlatans who are in the ministry for the money. God will give them their reward. However, this is just a smoke screen to not participate in giving. My experience shows that those who say this kind of thing just don’t want to give.
Most millennials are being educated by the liberal left on these ideas. They are happy to reach into other people’s pockets and take their money to give to the poor. Those who are in the Democrat Party are much more generous with other people’s money than with their own.
7. We Want to Be Mentored, Not Preached At
Preaching just doesn’t reach our generation like our parents and grandparents.
Millennials crave relationship, to have someone walking beside them through the muck. We are the generation with the highest ever percentage of fatherless homes.
I am all for mentoring and having someone to walk beside them, but the Bible says:
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:21-25)
We can’t neglect the preaching of the Word of God. Let’s mentor, but let’s keep preaching as well.
8. We Want to Feel Valued
Churches tend to rely heavily on their young adults to serve. You’re single, what else do you have to do? In fact, we’re tapped incessantly to help out. And, at its worst extreme, spiritually manipulated with the cringe-worthy words “you’re letting your church down.”
Millennials are told by this world from the second we wake up to the second we take a sleeping pill that we aren’t good enough.
We desperately need the church to tell us we are enough, exactly the way we are. No conditions or expectations.
Everyone wants to be valued, but it sounds to me that they are complaining because they are being asked to get involved. I thought they were upset because more is not being done for the Poor (Point 3).
They go on to say:
We need a church that sees us and believes in us, that cheers us on and encourages us to chase our big crazy dreams.
They want us to rubber stamp our “crazy dreams” and let them do what they want to do. Do they want us who are older, and who have made crazy mistakes, to let them make the same mistakes?
9. We Want You to Talk to Us About Controversial Issues (Because No One Is)
People in their 20s and 30s are making the biggest decisions of their entire lives: career, education, relationships, marriage, sex, finances, children, purpose, chemicals, body image. We need someone consistently speaking truth into every single one of those areas.
I fully agree with this point. We don’t talk to them about the controversial issues. I believe this is a true failure of churches for our millennials. Preachers are not preaching on the hard issues, they are giving chicken soup messages. They are not teaching the doctrine and precepts to deal with the real issues that millennials are facing.
I am going to stop here for today, and I will pick it up again tomorrow.
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