What Millenials Want from Church— Substance not Form!

There was a nice piece by Rachel Held Evans on the CNN ‘faith’ page recently. Here is some of what she said. I think she’s essentially right about all this. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/27/why-millennials-are-leaving-the-church/?hpt=hp_c3

“I point to research that shows young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness.

I talk about how the evangelical obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more than sticking to a list of rules, and how millennials long for faith communities in which they are safe asking tough questions and wrestling with doubt.

Invariably, after I’ve finished my presentation and opened the floor to questions, a pastor raises his hand and says, “So what you’re saying is we need hipper worship bands. …”

And I proceed to bang my head against the podium.

Here’s the thing; Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters, and we’re not easily impressed with consumerism or performances.

In fact, I would argue that church-as-performance is just one more thing driving us away from the church, and evangelicalism in particular.

Many of us, myself included, are finding ourselves increasingly drawn to high church traditions – Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Episcopal Church, etc. – precisely because the ancient forms of liturgy seem so unpretentious, so unconcerned with being “cool,” and we find that refreshingly authentic.

What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.

We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.

We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.

We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.

We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.

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.

You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.

Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus.”

  • Guest

    In my intermediary opinion, the to-me infamous Rachel Held Evans longs for Jesus alright, longs for Him to be conformed to her socio-political agenda. And she wants to take as many as she can with her. She longs for the Church to be so conformed to the surrounding cultural expectations here urged that it has no more impact than the European church in being true salt and light instead of a culture-bound mirror masquerading as the truth of Jesus. Seems whenever I read anything by her, when you get to the substance she puts into these ear-tickling forms, it is usually unbiblical. Her style over substance method is as bad as her eisegetical content.

    Due to her empty form into which most people put their own meanings, one can only understand her by collecting the occasional substantive comments she makes, trying to put those meanings into the pleasing forms which she presents, and concluding a manifesto with definite content instead of deceptive platitudes like much of what was written here, which is ambiguous enough for most people to misinterpret her as they desire and to conclude that she agrees with them.

    For example, have eyes to see her squelching of defense against Sodomist polemicists subverting Scripture and theology as mere “evangelical obsession with sex” while she simultaneously fails to oppose her own obsession with “social justice” and its litany of currently approved, Progressively Correct causes. Or perhaps one cannot determine what content she puts into her empty rhetoric? (But of course, not having done an extensive analysis, I’m open to counterexamples, evidence that could somehow logically contradict my limited impression and spiritual discernment of RHE as incorrect.)

  • kenny Johnson

    At least she writes what she writes under her own name and doesn’t hide by the anonymity that the internet provides.

    But I also think you’re completely wrong. I’ve read a fair amount from Rachel — including her first book. I understand and empathize with many of her struggles. I’ve had many of them myself. I obviously don’t know her heart (and neither do you), but my impression of her is that she has a real love of God and a sincere follower of Jesus.

  • tortugas

    A new generation gap begins. The baby boomers had babies and now their children have begun to protest the old dogma. Sounds familiar. As knowledge expands so does the urge to be free. A backlash is inevitable, and that isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, in this case, I think it’s a very, very good thing, although, not without difficulty. The old folks will inevitably complain, so will a few young ones, but, on average, things will get better. A new appreciation for genuine scholarship will emerge and probably uneasily coexist with new age practices, ghosts and space aliens. Fundamentalists will quake with fear for the damned and it’ll all be pretty darned entertaining, maybe, even, enlightening.

  • mickey