Over the past year I have seen many articles on Millennials leaving the church and why. All these articles pretty much say the same thing, that evangelical churches now-a-days are too exclusive, too un-accepting of the LBGTQ community, don’t give enough to the poor,are too political, etc etc. So I just thought I’d address some issues in their arguments, from a Millennial evangelical’s perspective:
1. Churches don’t focus enough on the poor
Christ didn’t die for a building. He died for people. And when he created his ‘church’, he didn’t build some elaborate building with a massive cross and stained glass windows. He charged his people with a creed to love others, spread the Gospel, and follow Him. He also commands us to give to the poor (Luke 12:33). If you want your church to focus more on the poor, than start volunteering with the poor. Give to the poor. Bring some friends along. Make it fun. Just do something. We millennials are the most connected generation there has ever been, we have so many resources at our finger tips. The Church is what you make it. If there isn’t a ministry that focuses on your interest, use your resources and creativity and make it.
2. Too political.
Yes, the crazy people you see on TV are crazy (and they exist on both sides of the political spectrum) but those are the minority. Regardless of what party you side on, if a church can’t or won’t take a stand on a political issue, I would be concerned about the leadership of the church. Yes, there are some issues which the church doesn’t necessarily need to make a statement on (i.e. Trayvon Martin, Obama’s birth certificate, etc.). However, the Bible clearly states some seriously political stuff and to say that Jesus and His disciples didn’t shake up the political sphere back in their day would be ignorant. In Mark 12:17, Christ tells the people to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. And in Romans 13, He commands us to respect governing authorities and to even pray for them. I totally understand not wanting to be a member of the Westboro Baptist Church and their hateful antics, but to think that the church should just sit and be quiet is taking things a little far. We Millennials love to be activists. To stand for something, which makes this complaint confusing to me. Why separate your spiritual life from your political life? Those two go hand in hand for a majority of the issues.
3.The LBGTQ (and questioning youth)
The Church has definitely dropped the ball on this issue but not in the way many people think. They have dropped the ball by sending a hateful message of eternal hell and damnation instead AND, on the other side of the spectrum, sending a message of acceptance and ‘love’. They have dropped the ball by being split. There is a big difference between tolerance and acceptance. To be ‘tolerant’ means to show willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. Tolerance is loving those who you don’t agree with or who don’t agree with you. Tolerance does not mean changing your doctrine to make others happy. God loves everyone. He created everyone. However, he did make some rules to help us live holy lives (as holy as we humans, who are prone to wander and sin, can ever be). And, as convenient as it would be to just pick and choose what we want to believe, Jesus doesn’t give us that option. The Bible is very clear on this matter. People may say it’s cultural irrelevant, however the LBGTQ community existed back then too and is arguably just as prevalent today as it was in Jesus’ Rome. And I get wanting to be supportive of this community. I have many loving and dear friends who are proud members of the LBGTQ community and I want them to live happy and fulfilling lives. I, however, cannot argue with Christ’s word. The Church needs to preach a message of tolerance while standing firm on Christian doctrine. A message of honest love. No sin is different than any other and no person any better than another. And in the end, sanctification is between you and God, no one else.