Next generation church?

To stop the millennial exodus, we as a church need to stop and listen to them.

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(Photo: Unsplash)

It was unusual. Within 24 hours I had received the same link to an article from three different people. However, after reading “59% of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Dropped out—And they’re Trying to Tell Us Why” I realised its significance and passed it on. 

The article, written by a millennial (someone born after 1980) from the USA, was short and challenged me to the core. Although the article quotes Christian church statistics from the US, the Valuegenesis studies done by the South Pacific Division (SPD) in the past few years reveal similar insights. 96 per cent of millennials do not believe in the Bible or follow Christian or moral values and see little value in the church. These facts are alarming.

According to the article’s author, Sam Eaton, the reason “church” is not important in their thinking is because it is not listening to the millennials, who want to be mentored, help the poor and talk about real challenging cultural issues. 

Millennials see the church focused on vision and mission statements, preaching, using their resources for themselves and blaming the culture for everything rather than making a difference. Ouch! Can the church listen, reflect and change? If we don’t, we may not have a church in the next generation.

"Can the church listen, reflect and change? If we don’t, we may not have a church in the next generation."

Young adults have energy (I am the father or father-in-law to five of them). Just sitting and planning irritates them. They want action with a purpose. Cleaning up yards, feeding the poor, visiting the disabled, going on STORM Co trips and overseas mission trips is what they want. They realise that they do not know everything and would appreciate input from others. They want options, advice, scenarios, questions, support, guidance but the freedom to try—to fail or succeed—knowing the church will support them no matter what. This reminds me of what Jesus did with a group of 12 young men. This is real discipleship. Is our Church in the SPD ready to take up Jesus’ discipleship challenge?

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