“Millennials,” 20-year-olds to 30-somethings, are leaving their churches in droves. How could this be? Every gimmick imaginable has been tried by the big money denominations and mega-churches to snag the millennials’ interest and involvement. And it is not just the soft-to-nonexistent gospel these churches offer.
There are Starbucks-style coffee bars in church foyers to caffeinate the hipsters, silly-but-live theater groups offering super-positive themes, money planners to guide them financially, gymnasiums and workout rooms with trainers, team sports of every kind, family councilors and psychiatrists, nurseries to drop off the youngest offspring and children’s activities that do not just feed and care for them, but are complete with interactive connectivity and field trips, church group ski trips and Caribbean cruises, rock/country/hip hop styles of contemporary “Christian” music, and so much more than specially-trained professionals are coming up with new fresh concepts constantly.
None of these tactics actually CONVERT THE LOST or KEEP THE SAVED, SAVED. All of these schemes are being done by churches to try and “remain relevant,” and yet the millennials still are abandoning churches in unprecedented numbers. Millennials are the most media-savvy generation ever with incredible amounts of information at their fingertips at all times about every religious topic under the sun. Current religionists, as well as the knowledge of the ages, can be accessed while in Bible class or during preaching. This is true in the Lord’s church like everywhere else.
However, as natural at handling technology as they are, these young people out on their own are often damaged emotionally and insecure from their experiences in life: the selfish nature of divorce has caused broken homes, parents who have abused them emotionally in various ways, single parent raising, the fact that often they have few siblings to lean on in the very small families of our time; no generation ever in our country has ever had such an onslaught of personal insecurities and confidence destruction as plague millennials.
Are they really being attracted by all the previously-mentioned gimmicks? Are they tired of churches making special projects of them? Are they fooled by jingoist falsehoods spouted by their churches working hard “to stay relevant in changing times.” Sayings like “God will never give you more than you can handle,” or “God is in control … has a plan for you … works in mysterious ways” should not fool anyone. These popular phrases do not give an exact answer to them so their faith remains a fuzzy, unresolved feeling, unsatisfactory personally, never actually making it to the level of faith required by God (Isaiah 30:10: “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits”). Here is what the pattern of God’s word teaches without any gimmicks that will actually help millennials find the faith God wants all Christians to have:
- Determine if you believe in the Lord — to have Heaven you must (Hebrews 11:6).
- Using only your Bible, follow it to become a Christian. Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? You do? Good! Then confess that Jesus is the Son of God to someone who will baptize you like you can read of in Acts 8:36-38. This is how in the New Testament every person who ever proclaimed his or her faith became a Christian. Never just faith by itself because it alone cannot save (James 2:17).
- When you have believed, confessed the name of Christ and are baptized, you are now a Christian and the Lord adds you to His church (Acts 2:47). Find a sound church of Christ and add yourself to that congregation.
- In your private life, live for Christ because you are saved and changed (Galatians 2:20) which means to live your life with kindheartedness, generosity, moral living, and loving others as yourself.
- Be active in good works and urge other Christians to also do the same as you love them toward the kingdom of Christ (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-15; Revelation 14:13).
Always keep in mind the changeless nature of God (Malachi 3:6), that our challenge is to be like Him. And not be fooled by trends of society or philosophies of man that change constantly. But rather remember the perfection of God and that unlike man, He got it right the first time!
Adapted from Marc Smith