We are already misunderstood and highly overlooked. Millennials are on a clock worked schedule and it always seems to consist of proving ourselves to people as well as being heard. Much of these unfortunate events tend to happen in schools, the work area, with family (who are not millennials) and even church.
Yes, I said church.
It’s not a matter of running from Jesus, although millennials have been said to be the most non-religious generation to ever exist.
In a place that was designed to be free of judgement and scrutiny, millennials have the hardest time with getting engaged in the church and staying engaged.
Millennials are totally over church because nobody listens to us, tradition rules over everything and we need to be mentored to not preached at.
According to a Barna Research study, a market research firm specializing in studying the religious beliefs and behavior of Americans and the intersection of faith and culture, only 2 in 10 Americans under 30 believe attending church is important or worthwhile.
Church and Board members tend to overlook the younger people because, “We don’t know anything.” or “We don’t understand.” Millennials value voice and speech and when we aren’t asked or given the chance to be heard, the message becomes pretty clear to us: Our opinion doesn’t matter.
Our generation is said to be the most intellectual and intelligent generations of all time. So, with that being said, we want to voice our thoughts and opinions. We want to be taken seriously. We want to be heard. The feeling of knowing that we are valued is what fuels our drive. Without appreciation or acknowledgement, we are merely shadows in the walls of our church and worship centers.
The study also revealed that as of 2016, 35% of millennials have an anti-church stance, believing the church does more harm than good. Aside from the hypocrites and judges in the sanctuary, the church is full of -forgive me for saying this- old timers. According to a previous ABC News poll, it has been found that religious belief and practice increase with age. Sixty percent of people age 65 and older report attending religious services at least once a week; among 18 to 30-year-olds, just 28 percent go that often.
One thing you can associate with older people, is tradition. Now, don’t get me wrong. Tradition is neither negative nor positive. Sometimes it can do more harm than good and vice versa but in the case of integrating youth and young adults into the church services or church activities, tradition rules and well, millennials…? We just don’t exist.
Change is inevitable, but it seems like the older deacons and deaconesses, grandmothers and fathers of the church are afraid of new. They
want church to stay the same way it’s always been, years and years ago. As mentioned in previous articles, millennials are independent and we follow our own paths.
Anything that is structured, predetermined or traditional, turns us the other way. The solution to being stuck on tradition wouldn’t be to abruptly change the way the service goes. No one likes sudden change; however, it would be a start if the congregation would allow a few add-ins here and there that involve original thoughts and ideas of the youth and young adults.
Last but not least, millennials have stopped attending church because everything turns into a sermon. One of the best ways to chase us off into the night, is a consistent chain of preaching and lectures. Yes, we need guidance but everything does not have to consist of scriptures, rules, and expectations. The worst thing anyone can do to a millennial is to put them in a box full of rules and expect them to abide by each and every rule. Millennials thrive of freedom and independency and while we do live by morals, standards and boundaries, we are composed of free spirits and an open minds.
We are the generation with the highest percentage EVER of fatherless homes. We value and crave relationships.We appreciate and take more from someone who is more of a coach and a guide, rather than a preacher or disciplinary figure.
Millennials want someone who can walk side by side with them and still make an impact on them with only words of wisdom, love, encouragement and peace.
This is not to bash any church goers. It is just too often that we –millennials- are looked down upon because of our decisions and our perception of the world and all that is within it and while there are many other reasons why 59% percent of millennials raised in a church have dropped out, the above for mentioned examples are ones that are documented more frequently.