I was born 26hrs into the year 1979. My birthday puts me near the divide between “Gen Xers” and the coveted “Millennials.” I say coveted because it seems to be the only demographic the Church is interested in reaching as of late. People born outside the early 1980s to early 2000s are people too. Sure, Millennials might approach church and faith differently but so does our culture in general and millions of others as well. Perhaps the way we’re “doing church” isn’t working for lots of people, not just Millennials.
stereotype characterize Millennials as seeking authenticity, engaging in their community, wanting to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and being conscious of social justice issues as they look to serve and volunteer with organizations they believe are making a difference. Isn’t that all of us? No, Millennials might not be as apt to attend a church simply because, “that’s what one does,” (though a recent Pew Study on religion showed 75% of Millennials as being religiously affiliated) as generations before but even those generations are moving away from that mindset. If a local church is not making a difference in some way, can we blame an individual, regardless of his or her generation, for not wanting to be a part of it?
What if the things Millennials are looking for in their faith and the Church is how we should have been “doing church” the whole time? People are people, Millennial or otherwise. We all want to be loved, accepted, supported, challenged, useful, helpful, to know we are not alone as we journey through the messiness of life. We want to make a difference. We want to live with meaning. Church, how have we forgotten what it means and looks like to live life with people? That was all the very guy we are trying to follow ever did, live life with people despite the mess, and even especially in the mess. When we are willing to do this, really do this, we will find that Millennials, and many others, are drawn to this idea of Church.