Millennials and Religion: Will a Lost Generation Ever Be Found?

Millennials and Religion: Will a Lost Generation Ever Be Found?

In John Chapter 6 Jesus asks Peter, “Do you want to leave too?” and, Peter says, “Where else would I go, Lord…?” In this chapter, it seems clear, that Peter was definitely not a millennial[1].


It’s estimated that 8,000-10,000 churches will close their doors this year. I’m assuming that has something to do with the whopping 80% of the US adult cohort opting out of attending Church. This 80% includes many of our parents, which presumably has greatly impacted the lack of attendance seen in their children, the 18 to 32-year-olds. You know, the ones supposed to take the reigns from the 16,000 Baby Boomers retiring annually…


It seems that the old is going and well, the new isn’t even showing up.

Millennials.

A generation said to be narcissistic, overconfident, entitled, lazy adults, suffering from extended adolescents [thank you TIME, we feel the love]. I myself am a Millennial – I don’t know if I’m the stuff listed above, totally debatable. But here’s the thing, we don’t want to go to your church. Well, about 60% of us don’t. To most of us, this is old news, so the question is no longer, “What is happening?” but “How do we deal with the reality of what’s happening?”

I think that this is a great question, though more importantly, I think before we talk about the in’s and out’s of how we must understand the “why”:

“Why did we [Millennials] leave in the first place?”

There seems to be a major generational disconnect between what Millennials want and what the past generations have done.

Here are five reasons we don’t want to go to your church:

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  • Phoenix

    “Will a lost generation ever be found?”

    Sorry, lol, Millennials are a massive pain in the ass.

  • Phoenix

    “Will a lost generation ever be found?”

    Sorry, lol, Millennials are a massive pain in the ass.

  • We haven’t been to church in awhile (eek-did I just say that out loud) We are part of Saddleback Church. We ask ourselves each week-do we want to hear a speaker and listen to music tonight? If we say no-then we don’t go. Trying to figure it all out.

  • We haven’t been to church in awhile (eek-did I just say that out loud) We are part of Saddleback Church. We ask ourselves each week-do we want to hear a speaker and listen to music tonight? If we say no-then we don’t go. Trying to figure it all out.

  • dothedan

    ‘Millennial’s [sic] are said to be the “… Best-educated cohort of young adults in American history.”’

    Couldn’t stop laughing

  • dothedan

    ‘Millennial’s [sic] are said to be the “… Best-educated cohort of young adults in American history.”’

    Couldn’t stop laughing

  • Are you usually at the main campus (when you guys go)?

  • Are you usually at the main campus (when you guys go)?

  • Good points, Andy. This is an exciting time, for those with eyes to see what the Lord is doing. All that you spoke of, that has been considered “church,” is being exposed for something else. A fraud. False. Jesus is raising His remnant, of all ages actually, and His Kingdom of Love is crashing through the charade of “church.” The empire is being overthrown.

  • Good points, Andy. This is an exciting time, for those with eyes to see what the Lord is doing. All that you spoke of, that has been considered “church,” is being exposed for something else. A fraud. False. Jesus is raising His remnant, of all ages actually, and His Kingdom of Love is crashing through the charade of “church.” The empire is being overthrown.

  • Yes-we are 17 year veterans. We used to love it and be really involved. Our kids grew up there from the ages of 3 and 5

  • Yes-we are 17 year veterans. We used to love it and be really involved. Our kids grew up there from the ages of 3 and 5

  • Lois

    I recently told somebody that it’s ok if “the church” dies. The church as it is now is not God’s church. It is a business that people created. God’s church is about people, not buildings that need to be filled every Sunday in order to pay the pastor.

  • Lois

    I recently told somebody that it’s ok if “the church” dies. The church as it is now is not God’s church. It is a business that people created. God’s church is about people, not buildings that need to be filled every Sunday in order to pay the pastor.

  • Lois,

    I agree. That’s at the heart of what I was getting at above. Any house not built on the Rock will ultimately be torn down. I think more eyes are being opened to the reality of “church” as we’ve known it being built by men, on sand.

  • Lois,

    I agree. That’s at the heart of what I was getting at above. Any house not built on the Rock will ultimately be torn down. I think more eyes are being opened to the reality of “church” as we’ve known it being built by men, on sand.

  • I get what you’re saying until your reference to moralistic deism, which presumably comes from Christian Smith’s therapeutic moralistic deism. If that’s the case, there is nothing shameful or guilt heaping to find there. Therapeutic moralistic deism is the term they gave to a common view among most young people when they were asked about their understanding of God, which include ideas like: There is a god who created the world, this god wants you to be kind, good, and fair, which every religion teaches, god ultimately wants you to be happy, good people will all go to heaven, and this god doesn’t really need to be involved except to help you solve problems or get through obstacles.

    Therapeutic moralistic deism is a watered down, popular level understanding that doesn’t really have much in common with any kind of historic Christian understanding. So some kind of moralistic deism isn’t to blame for people feeling guilty or ashamed because it basically teaches that as long as you’re nice, you’re good. And most people view themselves as good people already.

  • I get what you’re saying until your reference to moralistic deism, which presumably comes from Christian Smith’s therapeutic moralistic deism. If that’s the case, there is nothing shameful or guilt heaping to find there. Therapeutic moralistic deism is the term they gave to a common view among most young people when they were asked about their understanding of God, which include ideas like: There is a god who created the world, this god wants you to be kind, good, and fair, which every religion teaches, god ultimately wants you to be happy, good people will all go to heaven, and this god doesn’t really need to be involved except to help you solve problems or get through obstacles.

    Therapeutic moralistic deism is a watered down, popular level understanding that doesn’t really have much in common with any kind of historic Christian understanding. So some kind of moralistic deism isn’t to blame for people feeling guilty or ashamed because it basically teaches that as long as you’re nice, you’re good. And most people view themselves as good people already.

  • Stats guy

    80% opting out of church attendance? This is an incredibly misleading stat to start your piece with. *Maybe* this would apply if you are defining church attendance as “attend every week.” Far more than 20% attend church with some consistency.

  • Stats guy

    80% opting out of church attendance? This is an incredibly misleading stat to start your piece with. *Maybe* this would apply if you are defining church attendance as “attend every week.” Far more than 20% attend church with some consistency.