This is the question my husband and I are passionate about….. “How do we, the Gen X’ers, and the Boomers reach the younger generation?” The Millennials are roughly between the ages of 14 and 34 years. This generation has known the benefits and the pit falls of technology for most of their lives, they tend to be more cynical about formal “institutions”, they long for real and lasting relationships beyond social media, and they need to know they can truly trust someone before they will believe a word that is said. This group is the future, and yet so many of them do not appear interested in “going to church”. Even those that have grown up in the church community are leaving. Church, the way it has been traditionally done, is no longer a valid option.
My family and I have had long and hard discussions about the “old church” and the “new church” and what makes individuals want to join the community? And if the Millennials are leaving…where will we, as a church body, be a decade from now? There are some tough, even painful, questions to ask ourselves. Quite frankly, if current church members aren’t willing to take a seat at the table and talk, and even make some real changes…..well then, we are already dead in the water.
Do not misunderstand. I am not talking about changing the message. The message of the saving grace of Jesus Christ, never needs to be changed. It is just as awe inspiring, and life changing as it was the first time that Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) or “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” ( John 3:16 NET Bible)
But, I do believe that the way we, as church members, deliver that message, most definitely can change….and should. We do not need to stay stuck in traditions that aren’t even scriptural. “We’ve always done it this way” is nothing but a hollow excuse. Is it worth it to cling to old traditions and in essence then slam the door on the faces of those who desperately need to know that they are loved, by the God who gave His own son to take their place? No. My answer is definitely, no.
I am willing to change. I am willing to do whatever it takes. These young people matter to me that much.