The other day I was scrolling down my Facebook timeline when I came across an article written by a young millennial sharing why others like her were dropping out. When you here the words "drop-out," you immediately assume school, but this was not the case. At a rapid rate millennials were dropping out of attending a local assembly, or as some call it, church. For me this was not news. When I was in my early twenties attending a local assembly seemed a waste of time. It was not God who was in the way of me remaining connected, but all those who tried to play God in an effort to make their visions great.
As the article begins this young woman shares her heart and then gives those of us who are more mature or lead in these various ministries 12 reasons why they are leaving and what can be done to change the climate. While perusing the list, my heart was grieved because most of it was the same old things I had dealt with in my twenties. I hated seeing religion remove relationship and culture rule the conversation.
Here is what she said:
"We’re Tired of You Blaming the Culture - From Elvis’ hips to rap music, from Footloose to “twerking,” every older generation comes to the same conclusion: The world is going to pot faster than the state of Colorado. We’re aware of the down-falls of the culture—believe it or not we are actually living in it too. Perhaps it’s easier to focus on how terrible the world is out there than actually address the mess within.
Solution: Put the end times rhetoric to rest and focus on real solutions and real impact in our immediate community and explicitly teach us how our lives should differ from the culture." - By Sam Eaton (Faithit.com)
She was right! Reading her penned words over and over again I could not argue with one statement. For decades now, preachers have focused on the culture as the main distraction when it comes to young adults. But it is not the culture itself. What we fail to realize is these activities and groups are creating what all humanity longs for and that is community. In our services weekly we are divided into groups based on our age, our gender, and our maturity in the faith. We have made baby congregations out of the larger congregations we are a part of. We have exchanged connection and discipleship, for cliques and committees.
When I was younger I wanted to feel liked I belonged to something. It was easier to belong to God than it was a specific ministry. Every week I heard I was going to hell if I did certain things. Many of them were not scriptural but based on personal preference. I was hearing a set of rules that were to keep me safe, when the lack of teaching and caring was breaking my heart. I wanted someone to tell me how to stay in love with Jesus. I wanted to see someone demonstrate the characteristics of Christ I was being told to follow. I wanted to know how to address real life issues in a manner God would be pleased with. I wanted to be told the truth, not a watered down testimony or a charismatic speech, but the truth.
I too was tired of my culture being blamed. I was tired of seeing people called missionaries who never went anywhere to help anyone. I was tired of hearing about outreach, but never reaching out to the community. I was tired of praying for things that seemed superficial and neglecting the needs of others and seeking God for answers together. I was tired of hearing how we could be better, but never learning how we could be different. If I am to be set a part, then tell me how.
The article echoed a cry I had years ago and here it was again. It reminded me of Moses. God hearing the cries of the children of Israel, He calls Moses to lead them out of captivity into a land He promised...freedom.
I hope we can rise up where we live and become a Moses to this millennial generation. I hope we can plant seeds and allow God to water them in His time. I pray we can stop thinking we are more than we are and remember we were once in the same shoes. I pray we can connect and create the community of faith Jesus is coming back for.