Millennials and the Church

Patriot

Active Member
This will probably be seen as a bit offensive or divisive, but I wonder what the author meant by the following:

We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.
Especially when following up with the statement:

We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.
So if we are challenged to live lives of holiness with regards to sex would LGBT people feel 'truely welcome'? And if they remain unrepentant with their sinful situations should they be welcomed? 1 Corinthians 5 comes to mind.

But as I said, I do not know exactly what the author was saying as she did not expound on the point.
 

Neirai the Forgiven

Christian Guilds List Manager
Without a higher level of interaction, it's hard to say what she's actually trying to say there.

I agreed with most of what she said. I'd love to see homosexuals in our church ...but not at the cost of deciding that what the Bible calls sin is somehow holy.
 

Kendrik

Moderator
Staff member
I had a long post that took me far to long to write due to my inner-debates. I've decided to scrap it; if I'm debating with myself over whether to post or not, I should probably save it for another time. :p

That said, I did read the article when I saw it posted on Facebook. A lot of what was said is worth listening to--in order to better understand the social climate if nothing else--as it seems to represent to a reasonable degree a lot of what I hear from friends (most of which are from a non-denominational-but-basically-evangelical Bible college) and even represents many of my own feelings on trends of pursuing trendiness.

As for the point that Patriot hit on, that's a very good point indeed. It's hard to say exactly what the author had in mind, but if the author thinks like I do, then I would the main point not to be "we need to redefine holiness in sexuality to extend to homosexuality" but "we need the predominant attitudes and actions of our church bodies to reflect Christ in His love so that even our LGBT friends--people high on the most-pushed away list--will feel the love of Christ instead of condemnation just as the sinners, Samaritans, and tax collectors of His day did." If that is what is meant, then we're golden, and I agree in full. If we're looking at redefining holiness, or pretending sin doesn't linger, then we'll have a whole new set of problems to deal with.

But, like you all said, it's hard to say exactly what was meant without further information from the author.

Anyway, thanks for sharing Odale!
 

Odale

Active Member
To be honest, I wasn't expecting responses to be focused on the LGBT element. I did see it in the blog post and I did hesitate for a moment because it was mentioned, but thought it would only add another dimension to the blog post and not be the defining piece.

What I really wanted to know was y'all's opinion on the main idea behind this blog post - this generation's lackluster church attendance.

Do you think it's a problem the world is actually experiencing, or have the older generations done this before and it's more of a cyclical thing?
 
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Kendrik

Moderator
Staff member
I don't keep up with statistics. They're too easily manipulated--intentionally or accidentally, in polling or presentation--to fit the user's needs; because I'm jaded toward them, I'm also useless in making generalized statements that depend on statistical data to have some shred of usefulness. That said, I can't comment on "the world." I can, however, share that a lot of my old peers at Bible college were without home churches; many students barely even put in the effort to float from church to church unless required for assignments.

That is saddening. I confess that it can be hard to find a church to call "home" (though I've been fairly consistently going to one local church for a couple months now, I have a hard time finding a church since moving to Florida to call "home"). Still, it does seem to correlate with the idea of "this generation's lackluster church attendance."

My oversimplified estimation is that there is also a connection to many churches trying to be culturally relevant through human means (cutting edge music and technology, hip preachers, coffee shops, etc.--not that these are bad things in themselves, of course--or through "sanitizing Scripture" to make it less threatening to the unchurched). In short, attempts by human means to become relevant only makes a church more irrelevant to those already saturated in culture. It seems to me that there is better music, better teaching, and better coffee to be had outside the church, and what reason do I have to go to church if I'm just getting the same watered-down call to being less of a jerk anyway? It seems to me that cultural relevance is found not by trying to catch up to culture (because really, who among us actually wants to wake up and go somewhere only to get Jesus-ified trends and consumerism thrown at us?) but by living out the counter-cultural Gospel of love, peace, grace, and holiness all bacon-wrapped in humility. Rather than trying to play catch up with the things the world already offers, we should be offering what the world cannot: True relationship with God through the sacrifice of Christ displayed in our lives as we learn to know and love Him more.

Back to the experience of self and Bible college friends, it is interesting to note that those of my friends who've made the jump from evangelical Protestant churches to mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches are typically the ones most genuinely enthused about church involvement and living like the church whether they're at church or not. It may very well be coincidence, but it's interesting nonetheless.

I apologize for this possibly coming off as a dig at evangelicalism or evangelical churches (especially since my guess is that most here are evangelicals, myself vaguely included, many even in church leadership); I hope it goes without saying, but I have no such ill intent. I have highest respect for the countless leaders in evangelical churches and the multitudes of evangelical laypeople. It has just been, in my limited experience and in the talking with friends, that evangelical churches are the most prone to playing cultural catch-up, and it's that game of cultural catch-up, not evangelicalism itself, that makes attendance and involvement that much less appealing.

That said, we should always be aware of cultural trends and desires, and I totally agree with and commend the church leaders (which especially includes those same evangelicals) who are open to adapting to an ever-changing culture. We should never let a reluctance to change (as in simply being unwilling to consider change, regardless of what the specific issue is) be a hindrance to spreading the Gospel. If a congregation would be better suited by a rock band than the organ and piano used for the last 50 years, then change can certainly be a good thing. It only becomes a problem if we change for the sake of change, or if we bring in that rock band hoping that it will attract newcomers even though it doesn't suit our congregation; if we're changing in attempt to play cultural catch-up or otherwise generate mass appeal, then we probably need to think a little harder about our priorities/motives and whether we're trying to be relevant by human means or divine means before moving forward with it.

Most of my Christian friends who aren't involved in a local church tend to be uninvolved because they don't feel it is worth the time or relevant, even when they have gone to churches doing their best to be up-to-date. It's not that they have an aversion to church; it's that they don't have a motive for attendance other than going for the sake of going.


Thaaat's a wall of text with a lot of wandering. I shouldn't do this late at night. heh I hope this is more relevant to where you were hoping the conversation would go, though. :)

Edit: In my estimation, we need more of this if we're wanting to be culturally relevant, real hope for a world that needs it:
Psalm 46
[7] The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

[8] Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
[9] He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
[10] He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
 
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Odale

Active Member
That was a fantastic response Kendrik. I'm sure it portrays your thoughts eloquently as your posts tend to do. If only I could read it and comprehend it - it's 12:15 and tomorrow I will re-read it (for the 3rd time).

Thanks :)
 

Patriot

Active Member
My thoughts are two-fold.

First, the message of the Bible doesn't change. It shouldn't change. And that message is offensive to the unregenerate. All too often churches become more concerned with quantity over quality and end up watering down the message. This inadequately prepares people for when real trials come and they attribute it as a failing of the church in general. The seeds that land amongst the thorns.

Second, I see the problem as more of the general downward spiral of our society and culture in general. This begins with the basic family unit. As divorce, unwed parenting, and homosexual marriage are becoming far more prevalent (and accepted) the children end up paying for the sins of their parents. Discipline falls by the wayside out of guilt, laziness, exhaustion, or just a lack of understanding. Children grow up and repeat or add to the spiral when they have children of their own.

Is the failing the church's? Partially. Some fellowships don't take 1 Corinthians 5 to heart. In fact, they see it as unloving, while they turn a blind eye to the very unloving results of what they are sowing. But not every fellowship is the same. Some do try to stand against the tidal wave.

On the other hand, I think it is caused more by the general decline in society. We know the world is going to get worse, not better before the end. It is heart-wrenching to watch. The church tries to stand for truth in a world that increasingly doesn't want to hear it. The world doesn't want to admit that children need discipline. It doesn't want to admit that fathers AND mothers are an important part of their kids lives. Instead it wants to claim that kids can be raised just as well by anyone on their own.

With all that said, I think it is important to give a little perspective on who actually increases attendance:

1 Corinthians 3:6-7
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
 

Tek7@Work

CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
I was going to post a much longer message, but then I read that Kendrick had already said everything I wanted to say and said it more tactfully and eloquently that I could have.

/me tips hat

One has to go no further than the book of 1 Corinthians to realize that the church is an imperfect place for imperfect people seeking after a perfect God. Yes, there's abounding grace and wonderful fellowship to be found, but there are also cultural issues that need to be addressed in a loving yet direct and clear manner. Paul fervently desired that the people in the churches to which he wrote would seek more closely after God and glorify Him; if I may be so bold as a layperson, I would say that was one of his primary motives in writing Scripture (not discounting or devaluing the inspiration of the Holy Spirit).

I would most definitely like to see a shift away from nationalism and triumphalism in the church and a return to "grace to the humble, law to the proud" that evangelicalism seems to often miss. Like Kendrick, it's not my intention to disrespect evangelicals, but having spent my teenage years in a church that was nondenominational in name and charismatic in reality (and tended toward Prosperity Gospel, to boot), my experiences color my view.

On a personal note, I also believe the "waiting on the world to change" approach that many young Christians take is dead wrong as well. Paul didn't give up on the early Christian churches even when they were exhibiting serious problems. We shouldn't give up, either. Quitting is easy. Criticizing is easy. Getting involved, praying and seeking God's will earnestly, and sacrificing our time and energy to help influence our local churches to more closely resemble what God desires is painful, awkward, difficult, and rewarding.

I know it may bear little weight coming from a person who leads an online community, where people can simply log out and never come back when incensed by the slightest offense, but we are called to "not forsake the assembling of ourselves together," regardless the reason.

So while I understand the motives of young Christians and I most certainly sympathize, having shared in the same struggle, Scripture does not allow for isolationism as an easy out; the Word calls for us to share our lives with others, holding a special place for fellow believers (though not neglecting or withdrawing from those who don't yet believe Christ is God and able to redeem).

TL;DR: Yes, life (including church attendance and involvement) is often hard, but that's no excuse. The Word calls for us to work through this hard life together.

And I'm not suggesting anyone posting prior to this post was suggesting otherwise. I just wanted to emphasize a specific point, though I recognize that I am, again, influenced in part by my past experience with evangelicalism.
 

ursen

Officer SOE/LoE/Where's "here"?
Can a simplistic geezer weigh in? The article reminded me of the work of the Salvation Army. They traditionally have welcomed any and all whether they are young, old, rich or poor without giving up the gospel message. The things the Millinials are seeking are pretty much standard fare at most Salvation Army Corps (churches), the only thing we are not focused on is traditional liturgical practices. Each generation has its own special needs and desires, no matter how far back you go. The one unchanging item is the Gospel message, and God's Grace and love. If this is presented in an understandable way it will draw some, while others will reject as being too radical, "old fashioned, or for some other reason. The Salvation Army is still drawing a number of younger people in, sometimes by using new technology, sometimes by personal one on one presentation of the Gospel. Though we in the SA would love to gain all people to God's grace, we realize not all people are attracted to it, but we continue to try. And if we bend too much to make the Gospel palatable to one generation or another, we are in danger of losing the power of the greatest message ever told. If we display Christ in our daily dealings with others we will naturally draw seekers to God.
 

Icthus

Active Member
I have worked along side of, with and among these people. I even am raising a couple. I agree with Tim Keller on this. here is a direct tweet of all things...

Timothy Keller
@timkellernyc
@JeffersonBethke You are the generation most afraid of real community because it inevitably limits freedom and choice. Get over your fear.

His words, they don't like church because they love their freedom. Real community makes us set aside our freedoms for the greater good of the community.
 

CowRocket

Well-Known Member
.......... Real community makes us set aside our freedoms for the greater good of the community.
That sounds a lot like Communism.

I have more to say, but am having a really hard time expressing my thoughts... I'll try again tomorrow =/
 

Elader Arkon

Helped Tek test a thing
That sounds a lot like Communism.

I have more to say, but am having a really hard time expressing my thoughts... I'll try again tomorrow =/
The difference being that communism doesn't give anyone a choice in the matter, or in how they go about giving themselves to the community. I think working for the greater good of the local community (and not just the Christian community) is a vital aspect of spreading the faith, love, and teachings of Jesus, and something the Church should be doing as a natural extension of itself.
 

Elader Arkon

Helped Tek test a thing
It shall be a great and glorious revolution comrade! The Churchgoers will get off their backsides and make a difference, sharing the blessings God has given them to others, and the local people will not know what to do -for lo, they will look upon the workers and see they are not from the government, and they will turn to their calendars and it will not be a Sunday...
 

Patriot

Active Member
Political communism is about taking without asking. Christian community (I.e. the body) is about freely giving.
 

Kahiel

Active Member
If you want to break it down on theological lines, Christian community stems from our shared appreciation that all things belong to and come from God. Therefore, we are able to gratefully share in what God has blessed us with. Communism on the other hand stems from the selfish belief that some are unfairly rewarded and the state must take those rewards and redistribute them for the good of the collective.
 

direpath

Member
Political communism is about taking without asking. Christian community (I.e. the body) is about freely giving.
I always love the term "extravagant love". It is part of what drew me to Christ. I try to make it part of my walk with Him each and every day.
 
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