Why go to church? It's Irrelevant. How many times have you heard that?
Kenda Creasy Dean's book Almost Christian, she explains the attitude
of most Millennials toward church. “Teenagers tend to approach
religious participation like music and sports, as an extracurricular
activity; a good, well-rounded thing to do, but unnecessary . . .
religion is 'A very nice thing.'” I don't know about you, but to me that makes church sound a bit like a plate of macaroni and cheese.
not that they don't like church or have negative feelings about the
Christian faith. It that they simply don't care. It has no relevance
to their daily lives. Kind of in the same category as the climate in
New Zealand. It exists and is probably nice. But it has zero impact
on a 20-something American.
we're talking discipleship, that's a far more dangerous attitude than
outright hostility. Hostile people at least accept that religion is
worth talking about. Indifferent people don't. In the US, the
probability of the church atrophying away from indifference is much
higher than being persecuted to death.
what must happen for the church to be back on the radar for the next
generation? How do we achieve a higher SEO, so to speak, in their
spiritual google search?
way is to end our church culture of entertainment and create instead
a culture of engagement.
last week talking about how America has a consumer church mindset?
Funny thing is, that's what we intentionally cultivated for the parents of today's Millennials. But it's death for retaining their kids. (I think God just likes to switch things up to remind us we don't know everything and can't do it without Him.)
people are highly sensitive to consumerism—they see more
commercials in one day on the internet than most of us in ten years
of television. They tune it out. They know when they're being sold
to, and they don't like it.
includes sales pitches from the church to come enjoy/make use of/be
entertained by God. Unexpected thing is--They don't want less demanded of them. They want
big reason young people find church irrelevant is that they feel
there is no place for them there. They have been entertained and
instructed in moral behavior. But they have not known the power of
the Holy Spirit or been set free to use that power as Jesus did.
Our youth know how to be good people, but they don't know how to be meaningful people. [tweet this].
That's not enough for the newest generation to
reach adulthood. Praise God.
I wrote my book, Don't Forget to Pack the Kids: Short-Term Missionsfor Your Whole Family, I didn't want simply to write about missions.
I wanted to write about relevance. How do we keep the next generation
in church? An important answer for me was to get them involved in
serving, using their gifts, and believing they could contribute, at
any age. We've lost large portions of the next generation by keeping
them entertained and occupied but not discipled. Not being little
Christs (the meaning of the word “Christian”). When
people complain that church is irrelevant, what they often really
mean is that church is only relevant inside its doors, to the people
already there. There is a little bit of accuracy there.
it gets outside its doors, however, church can be the most relevant
force on the planet. Funny, I think that's how God planned it to
work. He did say “GO into all the world.” Not “Hang out here
and I'll bring them in to you.” We're not Noah's ark; we're the
church. One was meant for God to bring his creation inside for
safety; the other was made to go out and batter the gates of hell. I
think we get those two mixed up sometimes.
church is relevant when the people who make it up are relevant to
those around them. When we don't dissolve into our church walls doing
our own thing. When we teach our children that they are the church
and they make it relevant by being the hands and feet of Christ. And
that they don't have to wait to do so until they known enough verses
or are old enough for it to be “safe.”
tried to be relevant by creating relevant programming. It's a
short-term fix. Creating relevant people—now that's long term. That
changes everything outside our walls. When the church is that, it's
nearly impossible to be ambivalent about it. It will no longer be
perceived as “a nice place with no meaning to me.”
we want to be relevant? Forget bells and whistles programming. Forget
fancy guest speakers. (Ouch. I'm a guest speaker.) Create disciples.
Start as early as possible. Give young people the benefit of
believing they can handle real theology and service.