On April 30th, Fox News’ website posted an article about Dr. Alex McFarland’s new book titled “Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home”. In the article, Dr. McFarland, Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University, gives us some startling facts.
He cites a Pew document that states that millenials are the least outwardly religious generation in America, where “one in four are unaffiliated with any religion”. But this isn’t just kids being kids, their parents at the same stage in their life were far more religious than Millennials are.
Beyond just this is the disturbing way that the modern media has infected the minds of these kids. 60% of Millennials say that Christianity is “judgmental”. In addition, 64% of Millennials say that “anti-gay” is the best way to describe Christianity’s view on homosexuality.
All of that being said, McFarland writes that there are 10 reasons that Millennials are leaving the church:
- The mindset of “digital natives” is very separate and different than the mindset of other generations and the church has not adapted.
- The breakdown of the family unit.
- The militant secularism that has overtaken the media and Hollywood.
- The lack of a spiritual authenticity among adults that they know.
- The church’s cultural influence has diminished.
- The wide scale abandonment of morality displayed by the majority of modern culture.
- The “intellectual skepticism” that has become the norm in education.
- The rise of “atheism” as a cultural fad. We now live in a world and country where being an atheist is the popular and “in” response to belief about God and Spirituality.
- The new god of the modern world is “tolerance” and refusal to give in fully to this god is not acceptable.
- The usual defiance that is the norm in all generations during young adulthood.
The truth is that the church is losing Millennials, we are losing grasp on cultural relevancy, and, if we aren’t careful, we will not longer be the majority even in this “Christian nation” we live in.
McFarland says that a “prayerless, powerless church peddling versions of ‘Christianity Lite” is largely to blame” and we agree with that because most churches are more worried about “marketing their brand” than they are about reaching souls. Doing this, the Church is playing directly on the home court of the world and that means we are playing a game that we can’t win.
So how can we combat this trend? The Bible gives us the answers:
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” – James 1:27 KJV
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2 KJV
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 KJV
The church right now has three ways to combat this. First, is with a pure religion that cares for the hurting and the afflicted in their times of need instead of focusing on numbers, money, and status. Second, is the righteousness and separation from the world that a separation from the world provides. The last weapon in our arsenal is to stop trusting in our programs and our insights and our abilities, but to trust wholly and completely on Jesus Christ and to allow His power to move and guide us. This power will bring revival no matter the political or social climate we find ourselves in.