The Millennials (ages 18-34) are now the largest part of our nation with 75.4 million people. According to Pew Research one-third of the millennial generation has left the church and may never come back. The most rapidly growing religious preference in America is “none.”
Some of that is the church’s own fault. We are slow, too slow, to adapt to people, preferring instead to make people conform to our traditions. We are too wired for institutional preservation and not enough about meeting people where they are. We are too comfortable about what is comfortable for us. The apostle Paul never stepped outside the box of Holy Scripture, but he was very willing to step outside of any other “box” if it would save souls. “I make myself a slave to everyone,” he said, “to win as many as possible” (1 Corinthians 9:19).
But much of the “nones'” problem is simply Satan’s work. And while church skippers and church skeptics feel smug about sleeping in on Sunday, anyone cutting him/her self off from the Word and the Lord’s Supper is ultimately spiritual suicide: ‘”I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,’ declares the LORD. ‘Therefore…prepare to meet your God'” (Amos 4:6,12).
Let’s listen to the new generations. Let’s ask them why they want to or don’t want to come back to our church the second time. Let’s learn from them. And let’s love them enough to tell the urgent story of Jesus in terms that make sense to them and with changing methodologies (not “theologies”) that say, “I care about meeting you where you are at in 2016.”
Grace and peace!