Why are Millennials leaving the church?

I have a friend who has a daughter and this daughter has Aspergers like I do. She thinks of Corrie and I as family and talks to us and recently I discovered she had given up on her Christian faith. When I asked her why she gave me pretty typical answers about science and there being no proof. How all of the miracles that get attributed to God are actually fully explained by science. I then asked her how she explains things like spontaneous remission but she shut the conversation down abruptly at that point.

I worry about her and others like her who are leaving the church in droves. They are doing it at younger ages also. I left the church in my 20s but I would never have imagined myself at 16 leaving my church, The generation of kids coming up today seem a lot different than we were. Part of me wonders why, I wonder what is going on, I wonder if the generation after this one will be even worse or if they will return to faith. I’m not the only one who is wondering, there have been blog posts written lately about why this younger generation is leaving the church. Rachel Held Evans gives some good insight from a progressive Christians perspective. and Hemant Mehta gives an atheistic view. Personally I think there are a couple of key reasons.

I think that the church as a whole has dropped the ball on the homosexual debate I’ve written about this elsewhere so I won’t into too much detail here but I believe we have put entirely too much emphasis on a subject that the bible only addresses a handful of times and most of the references are murky at best when you take interpretation into account, I don’t know whether the act of homosexuality is a sin or not and I am not too concerned about it. I know that gay people are sinners in the same way that I am a sinner, in the same way that the guys that pastor my church are sinners and we are all equally in need of Jesus. If the brokenness that infects my life isn’t enough to keep me out of communion with Jesus than theirs won’t either.

I also think that we have made a mountain out of a molehill in the science vs religion debate. Hemant says in his piece.

There’s been talk of finding a better way to reconcile science and religion.¬†Whenever that battle takes place, religion loses.

There are some questions we may never know the answer to, but for the ones we can eventually answer, the scientific explanation will devour the religious one. Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other.

The opposite is actually true. The more that science studies the universe and our own planet the more obvious it is that there is a great deal of order and design to everything that is happening. There are structures in place that keep everything together. Just taking science at face value forgetting religion it is becoming increasingly hard to explain how and why this universe came into being and continues to function without some sort of guiding force behind it. Even most Atheists will admit that this is an amazingly complex structured universe we live in and they will marvel at how it continues to function though they will of course stop short of admitting a God.

Whenever there is a new scientific discovery made I marvel at it and I thank God for it. I’m pretty sure that I am a product of evolution and if that is the process in which God created us than that’s amazing! It probably happened over the course of sevral billion years and that is equally amazing. God is good, Christians don’t need to be scared of these things.

The biggest reason though that I believe young people are leaving church is because they don’t feel cared for. It;s not about hip music or smoke and lasers nor is it about pizza parties and pop culture references. There are real people, who have real problems, who come from broken homes and all kinds of abuse and neglect who need real comfort and real answers. They don’t need you to tell them about hell they may already be living in it. They need to be shown the love of God and told the gospel message. That’s what we’ve been called to do right? To love people and share the gospel? We need churches that are less hangouts and more hospitals. People who are committed to caring for the souls of those that attend no matter what state they are in when they arrive.

I am so thankful for The church I attend. Had I stayed with the first church I went to when I first gave faith another try I would not still be a Christian today. I needed a place where I could and work through my own shit, and I needed people who were willing to wade through that shit with me. People who would not judge but would offer companionship and friendship and patience, lots and lots of patience. That is what all of us need we need a place that wil care for us and when we are better a place in which we can care for others,

If you are a Christian, if you have a church and you are wondering how to best reach young people or anyone who may be disillusioned by church you should approach them assuming they will be just like I was. Angry, hurting and having very legitimate reasons as to why they left the faith. You need to give them time to work through it, answer their questions honestly and pray with and for them.  People no matter their sin pattern, no matter their sexual orientation should not be scared to go to church, the church should be the FIRST place they would want to go because they know they will be loved there no matter what.

These are the things I am most passionate about and the reasons that I feel like God has called me to be a pastor.

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