I recently came across an article on faithit.com entitled “59 Percent of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Dropped Out—And They’re Trying to Tell Us Why” (http://faithit.com/12-reasons-millennials-over-church-sam-eaton/). Even though I am a Christian adult from the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation, the generation that raised the millennials, I would like to respond to this article, if you would be so kind as to listen and read (and, I’m sorry, it will take me more than one blog to fully respond!).
First of all, being from your parents’ generation, I would like to apologize for the ungodly ways in which we raised many of you. We should have taught you the Word of God, not only by verbal instruction, but by obedient example. As a young parent, I cringed when I noticed how often my generation would:
- Oftentimes give in to your every want (teaching you entitlement)
- Shield you from the negative consequences of foolish behavior (teaching you that you did not have to worry about being accountable for your actions)
- Fail to discipline you due to laziness, tiredness, exasperation, or because it interfered with what we were doing at the time (teaching you that it was easy to get away with whatever you wanted)
- Allow you to push your church attendance and involvement to the side in favor of secular or school-related activities, or allowing you to obtain employment that conflicted with church attendance (teaching you that church does not rank in importance among other things in life)
- Push the boundaries of God-honoring behavior in our own homes (teaching you to do the same in life)
We did not pray over you, for you and with you as we ought. It is no wonder that you would reject this God you saw your parents serve (or not serve, as the case may be) and find emptiness in what you deem as “their” (your parents’) institutions.
With that being said, though my generation has had a large part in contributing to this culture that is “going to pot faster than the state of Colorado” (as the faithit.com article says), I wish to remind you of three things:
- You are a responsible moral person and will one day stand before the one and only Almighty God (just as my generation will) to give an account of your actions. (2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”) In that day, you will not be able to blame your parents for the mistakes they may have made in your upbringing. I beg you, please do what needs to be done NOW so that day will be a pleasant one for you. If you are or have been a church-goer, you know that you can find how to do this in the Bible. Use the Bible to make sure you are truly a Christian and will escape God’s judgment.
- Be aware that just because you may not be enthralled at the present state of churches that you find, this does not mean that God exempts you from attending. You will be held accountable for Hebrews 10:24-25: “…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” It is God’s will that we all assemble together, young and old, as His body to encourage one another. The church is not an institution created by your parents or any human being, it is an institution created and administered by Jesus Christ (He died for the church! Ephesians 5:25). He does not view your rejection of it lightly.
- You don’t have to be a “victim” of the way you were raised (or a victim of any circumstance, whatever it may be, big or small, that has occurred in your life). There is a reason that Jesus said in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” In Jesus, you, too, can overcome the world. Diligent attention and obedience to God’s Word can make you rise above any injustices (real or perceived) that you have experienced.
Are you still with me? Good. Please don’t write me off as being one of the “smattering of mostly older people, doing mostly the same things they’ve always done” (as the article states). I am reaching out to you in love, and I am sincerely concerned with your Christian walk and eternal destiny. Please stay tuned for future blogs on this subject!