Black Millennials

Bryan T. Calvin:

If you keep up with Christian news and blogs at all you know there has been a lot of talk about why Millennials are leaving the church.

It is a hot topic for Christian books and speakers, and for good reason. People are trying to understand why Millennials are leaving, if we can get them back and if the problem is with the generation or with the message or presentation of the Church.

New data from the 2012 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s Religious Landscape Survey(that is a mouthful to say and write) shows while the number of people who don’t identify with a religion has risen to 20 percent of the U.S. population, for adults age 18-29, that number rises to over 30 percent. This trend has steadily been growing among Protestant mainline and evangelical populations.

And yet, this is a discussion that is missing a few pieces. If you look closer at these reports, you’ll see an interesting disparity.

The numbers for black Millennials are, in fact, not dropping. That is, black adults age 18-29 are not leaving the Church. The 2007 report shows thatblack Millennials makeup 24 percent of Historically Black Churches , the same percentage as their Boomer Generation parents. Religious affiliation for young black adults going to historically black churches remains stable. If you look at trends between the 2007 and 2012 surveys, there’s not much difference in the numbers for black Millennials.

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  • Good insight. I wonder what correlation there is between the growing ‘nones’ to the churches that try and compete with a consumer-driven society and lose. This compared to traditional churches that focus on God-centered worship and spiritual disciplines like the Orthodox churches and most Catholics? Your observation regarding black churches which seem to maintain a more God-centered approach rather than accommodation goes to my point as well.

  • Hello, “Millenials” seems to be quite a buzz-word in the States, as a Germanic Frenchman it sounds strange and funny at the same time.

    According to my own experience in France: these young folks leave the Church because they realize they can no longer believe in Biblical inerrancy and in divine genocides,
    Oftentimes they’ll become angry militant atheists.

    One of the numerous purposes of my blog is to show them that another form of Christianity is possible, one where first and foremost God is viewed as a perfect being.

    I met two days ago in Germany a young Brazilian having lost his evangelical faith and having become a Buddhist. We had a fascinating conversation and he is apparently willing to reconsider Christianity as I presented it to him.

    I know that God wants to save everyone, and if a person die without believing in Him, He will also graciously forgive all her sins and offer her eternal life with and in Him ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GRAVE.
    But if the person rejects this offer, she won’t spend eternity with God and will eventually cease to exist.

    I want to pour God’s love which is (imperfectly) present in me everywhere.

    Blessings and lovely greetings from continental Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    EDIT: I’m neither promoting my person (I’m quite fallible) nor my ideas (which keep evolving with time).

    But God gave me the wish to write down somewhere all my thoughts so that they might be a springboard, an inspiration for other people to draw their own conclusions.

    I’d be glad to receive feedback and critical, challenging comments everywhere.

  • Leah

    Hello. I recent turned 30, am black, female, and I left the church earlier this year. I found that church leaders could not answer the various questions I had on the OT’s defense of genocide or how so many Christians who claim to have objective values seem awfully subjective when the issue at hand doesn’t involve the lower regions (homosexuality and abortion are the only things that are always wrong, whereas slavery and racism are sometimes okay as long as your group isn’t the one being affected). I read “The Essence of Christianity” by Ludwig Feuerbach, in which the author claims that God is essentially a psychological projection, and it made sense to me. It’s the only thing that explains the diversity of beliefs among those who claim to worship the same God. I am now a member of Black Nonbelievers, where there are other blacks who were either never in the church or have decided to leave. Black atheists are out there and we are growing.