Friday, March 28, 2014
Six Reasons Why only 2 in 10 Millennials Believe Church Attendance is Important
According to a new Barna Study, 2 in 10 adults under 30 believe that Church Attendance is important. Of course, professors, pastors, psychologists, and academic professionals are intensely curious why this is the case and what we can do to fix it. I have an idea myself, but I will save that for the end of this short blog.
The first reason is that Millenials are starting at a lower baseline for church participation than previous generations. (Thanks mom and dad). If the parents don't go, I suppose the kids won't go either. So what! Is that the real issue? I am skeptical.
Another reason is that apparently Millenials are about having fun. And if you have a job, then fun is usually to be had on Friday and Saturday nights. So, if I stay out until 2am on Sunday morning getting ripped, it is very difficult to get up and get to church the next morning. Even making "online service" is tough under those circumstances.
Another reason Millenials avoid church attendance is that they are afraid the church might criticize their lifestyle. You think? What ever gave you that impression? We would never criticize young people for staying out partying, getting drunk out of their minds and probably fornicating until the wee hours of the morning. We love you. We respect your privacy. You can be a Christian and do whatever makes you happy! NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Still, another reason is that some Millenials had very entertaining, I mean energetic youth groups and many churches just can't compete, I mean compare. This is such a valid reason for not attending church.
Finally, Millennials are all about individual authority and individual decision-making. They do not, in any way, shape, or form, need an institution like the church making decisions for them. They will make their own decisions on everything, including what it means to be a Christian, whether or not the church is even relevant any longer, if the Bible is believable or worth reading, and what kind of God exists and precisely the kind of Person Jesus Christ was in His earthly existence.
Biola University dean of spiritual development (really??) thinks the Millennials have a really high standard and are just too immature to see that imperfections are always going to be part of the church. Since the church doesn't meet their high standards, I suppose they just stay away. To be honest, this statement makes very little sense to me in light of the rambunctious, drunken, pleasure-seeking, independent person described in the Barna report.
Why do Millennials believe that church attendance, at least 8 out of 10 of them, is not important? The answer is really quite complex. It could take me several paragraphs to get through the various psychological complexities involved in the answer. And then, it could take several more for me to tease out a solution to the problem. So, here we go. The reason anyone believes that church attendance is not important is because they do not know or love God. They do not care about Scripture. They do not give two cents about the teachings of Jesus Christ, His Apostles, or the Prophets of God.
Sure, there are sorry excuses for churches out there just as there are sorry excuses for Christians, pastors, seminaries and the like. There is no denying that. But that is NOT why we are intimately involved in the community of faith, the body of Christ. We are not involved in the body because there are entertaining programs, perfect pastors, and wildly talented music ministries. We are not involved in the body because all the members are perfect, always kind and gracious, and wildly attentive when we are hurting. Sometimes they are none of those things…sometimes.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful 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. For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. (Heb. 10:23-27)
If you do not like church attendance and you have no interest or desire in being part of the community of faith, the body of Christ, then I suggest your problem is with Jesus Christ, not the church. We can do all the surveys we like. A survey asks the sinner why they don't like coming to church. Do we really think the sinner is going to place the blame on themselves? Church is boring, or I don't have time, or they are hypocrites, or the pastor is too arrogant, or their views are just way outdated. The list will continue so long as there are sinners to give excuses. What I want to know is why we trouble ourselves with the nonsense of surveys like this to begin with. If you want to know why people don't go to church, read Scripture. Scripture tells you why. Perhaps that is the problem. We simply don't believe Scripture. It can't be that simple. Once again, we came back to believing Scripture or trusting in the ingenuity and creativeness of our own abilities. Hey Millennials, God created you in His image. He has every right to be acknowledged as Lord. Even though you rebelled, as we all did, He sent His Son to bear the wrath of the God we all offended. Repent! All those who believe, who place their trust in Christ will have eternal life.