I am of the Baby Boomer generation. We have much to be proud of, but much also of which to be ashamed. Our parents believed in institutions—they were joiners. We were rebels and were skeptical about institutions. We began the drift away from church. Our children, the Millennials, have adopted our ideas with a vengeance. According to social researchers, one-third of the Millennial generation has left the church and may never come back. The most rapidly growing religious preference in America today is “none.”
Some of that is the church’s own fault. We are slow, too slow, to adapt to people, preferring instead to make people conform to our traditions. We are too wired for institutional preservation and not enough about meeting people where they are. But much of this phenomenon is simply Satan’s work. And while church skeptics and skippers may feel smug about sleeping in on Sunday and dawdling over a late brunch, cutting yourself off from Word and the Lord’s Supper is ultimately spiritual suicide: “‘I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,’ declares the LORD. ‘Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God’” (Amos 4:6,12).
Let’s listen to the new generations. Let’s learn from them. And let’s love them enough to tell the urgent story of Christ in terms that make sense to them.
Pastor Mark Jeske brought the good news of Jesus Christ to viewers of Time of Grace for 18 years. He is currently the senior pastor at St. Marcus Church, a thriving multicultural congregation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mark is the author of several books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics. He and his wife, Carol, have four adult children.
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