You can find the original article here.
I have seen this article being posted around Facebook recently, and I would like to offer a few thoughts in review. As a Millennial myself, I vouch that there are deep truths to the statements in the article, but there are also statements I refuse to have claimed for and over our generation. What I have to add may come off as strongly worded, but I think this is because, as a pastor, these are topics I know every church hears time and time again. I mean no disrespect to the authors because my review is for the church body as a whole in addition to my own generation (including me).
Points #3, #4, and #5 are strong and striking. I thank the authors and think these elements are worth reading. For me, personally, #4 reverberates the most. I am excited to say that, in my experience, Millennials generally enjoy working alongside many different generations, serving in ministry, and participating in transformational, holy moments together. Millennials in churches aren’t seeking to take power or make decisions in a vacuum. We only want to listen, to be heard, and to create together–many generations working with one God. Thankfully, at every stage in my development as a leader in the church there have always been older adults to nurture my growth and disciple me in our faith. I aim to follow their model for the entirety of my life as there will always be younger people who are ready to learn, to be heard as equals, and to lead. Don’t stop looking around you to find those eager to grow.
Points #1 and #2, however, are tragic for such a well-written post-gone-viral. The first point claims that Millennials are leaving the church because we are more educated than previous generations and because the church has stopped fueling our minds. This is foolishness, and though some Christians in my generation may feel this way, I hope the majority comes to use their education and ability to think critically and creatively to teach instead of leaving when they feel they aren’t learning. This goes for any generation engaging in the life of the church; when you feel that “church/worship/Bible study/etc. doesn’t ‘feed’ you anymore,” take off your bib and put on an apron! One way to continue to learn is to take responsibility for teaching, guiding, and discipling others. If you expect to be a passive participant in the life of the church then you’re missing a large part of God’s calling in your life, and tragically, the church is missing the gifts and abilities that you bring to the table. We are all responsible for our engagement in the life of the church and for our spiritual growth. We are also all in this endeavor together. Learn to lead as well as follow. Learn to serve as well as how to be served.
The second point claims that Millennials are leaving the church because we came of age in the recession and that the church has yet to change its teachings on money. While I fully understand (and am a part of the statistic) that our generation has more debt than any previous generation because of horrendously expensive education costs and pitifully inadequate job prospects for those entering the workforce, the Christian understanding of money and stewardship doesn’t change depending on the economic stability of the U.S. dollar. I recognize and applaud the authors of the article for shaming the prosperity gospel and its ilk as these streams of theology do terrible harm to those who are most vulnerable, but if that’s what your church is preaching I doubt that’s the only poor theological current being taught. Jesus spoke about money quite a bit, and the church needs to follow suit. Money is a tool and a resource that can bring about great things for God’s glory. Christian stewardship is understanding that God has blessed us all with many different things, and those things are God’s but have been put in our care. Do with them what is righteous and positions you, your family, your church, your neighborhood, your country, and our world to be a great witness to God’s love and grace. I won’t tell you to share the money you have. Jesus already did.