Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby ChickenSoup » Wed May 13, 2015 5:08 pm

I know for me, it's hard to find a church that's challenging enough. That is to say, I'm tired of feel-good messages that say a lot of words without actually saying anything. Ok, that's great. I'm a doctoral student who was raised in the church, homeschooled in a Christian family, and attended a couple college-level religion classes from both a Christian and secular perspective. I need substance.

Perhaps it's my college-driven need to prioritize relevant information ("Oh, I already know this. Skip to the stuff I don't know so I can study and ace the test"), but I haven't been to a church service lately that I haven't felt was an enormous waste of time. Like, I work part-time in addition to going to school, so this is one of two (or one, sometimes) mornings that I get to sleep in and I'm going to go pretend to listen to the broken record for an hour so I can go home and nap. I don't know if it's churches trying to stay relevant and appeal to the younger crowd that they're losing, but I need to learn something. Fellowship doesn't make it worth it to me, since there's a lot of Christians in my program at school anyway and by the end of the week I'm generally tired of people anyway. When going to church brings on a feeling of dread, it's not really a day of rest anymore. It's a big deal to me because my fiancee wasn't raised with the same kind of familiarity with the church and its teachings, so she still gets a lot out of church... but I even went to this small group setting that was supposed to go in depth about the origins of the church and thought "this is neither that deep nor new to me." It's like if I had the ability to go to college, but decided to stay in 8th grade for year after year because fellowship.

And the thing is, a lot of millenials were raised this way. Grew up in the church, saw that there wasn't much left to get out of it, and left. I mean, with a lot of them (and myself, really) they start to have fundamental disagreements with the church, too.

I'd almost rather wake up to a cup of non-nasty coffee out of my own machine on a Sunday and go for a walk with earbuds in and listen to something that actually teaches me. Maybe enjoy a pipe, but that's not something to talk about here >_>

Anyway, if any of you out there struggle with the same thing (I think Deep mentioned this before) and have some kind of solution or suggestions, I'm open to anything at this point, even if it's a podcast or something I can listen to instead.
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby ccgr » Wed May 13, 2015 6:40 pm

The church that Jay and I got married at was very "seeker friendly" and their sermons didn't have much meat to them, that's what their small groups were for they said. Because of my weekend school schedule we went looking for a church that had Saturday services and we started going to Harvest Bible in Rolling Meadows. The messages from James MacDonald were very powerful and convicting. Much different than we were used to. ;) When we moved we started going to Chain of Lakes Community Bible Church (www.clcbc.com) our current church is much smaller in comparison but their messages are still very Biblically sound. You can download and listen to their messages if you like. http://www.clcbc.com/index.php/our-church/messages

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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby ChickenSoup » Wed May 13, 2015 8:47 pm

The church that Jay and I got married at was very "seeker friendly" and their sermons didn't have much meat to them, that's what their small groups were for they said.
Blegh, I always hated that approach. That is kind of how my current church does it... Anyway,I'll check out those links!
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby Sstavix » Thu May 14, 2015 2:36 am

I know for me, it's hard to find a church that's challenging enough. That is to say, I'm tired of feel-good messages that say a lot of words without actually saying anything. Ok, that's great. I'm a doctoral student who was raised in the church, homeschooled in a Christian family, and attended a couple college-level religion classes from both a Christian and secular perspective. I need substance.

Perhaps it's my college-driven need to prioritize relevant information ("Oh, I already know this. Skip to the stuff I don't know so I can study and ace the test"), but I haven't been to a church service lately that I haven't felt was an enormous waste of time. Like, I work part-time in addition to going to school, so this is one of two (or one, sometimes) mornings that I get to sleep in and I'm going to go pretend to listen to the broken record for an hour so I can go home and nap. I don't know if it's churches trying to stay relevant and appeal to the younger crowd that they're losing, but I need to learn something....

And the thing is, a lot of millenials were raised this way. Grew up in the church, saw that there wasn't much left to get out of it, and left. I mean, with a lot of them (and myself, really) they start to have fundamental disagreements with the church, too.
Before one can proceed down a path, one must have a goal in mind. What are you looking for, exactly?

I can understand the frustration with having to listen to all the old stuff before - but remember that to some people (your fiancee, for example) this is new information, and others need a refresher course from time to time. But what kind of information are you looking for? And if the answer to that question is "I don't know," then perhaps it's time to do a bit more research - either through the scriptures or through honest, heart-felt prayer, or even both - in order to learn what would satisfy that itch to scratch.

And if you do have an answer, feel free to share! Maybe one of us can provide some resources to help with that, too. :)

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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby Whatshisface » Thu May 28, 2015 1:37 pm

I had dumped this, my $0.02, on this matter on my fb when the study was published. It's been a topic which has concerned me since last fall when I started to help with the children's ministry at a nearby evangelical church and started seeing kids of all ages who knew absolutely nothing about the gospel. Anyway, my post:

The topic of young adults leaving church has been weighing heavily on my mind for a while now, so it's interesting that articles about the recent pew research study seem to dominate my news feed today. Below is a link to the actual study.
First of all, don't panic over this. Remember that such "studies" are more often intentionally designed to support agendas, not provide truth. "There are three types of lies: lies, dang lies, and statistics."
With that out of the way, it is true that, on the whole, faithful congregations are shrinking and this is especially evident among young adults. But the major reason they're leaving is because we are failing to teach them Christianity. In other words, they aren't hearing the gospel.
Let that sink in a moment.
Generally speaking, we in America dump our kids in Sunday school where they are thoroughly entertained but taught nothing of Christianity. On any given Sunday they're learning moralistic therapeutic deism. Our justification for what is, at best, watered down heterodoxy is to shrug our shoulders and say: 'well, they're just kids' - as if: 1.) because they're kids, they're too stupid to grasp Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, repentance and faith, etc; 2.) Somehow, dropping our kids off for a couple hours negates our responsibility and *accountability* for teaching them the truth.
Typically, this pattern will continue as they get older and "graduate" to youth groups where we discard the macaroni pictures but the moralistic deism and entertainment remains.
Eventually most of them will grow up, leave home, and never return to church. Why? Because they have spent 18+ years not being taught the basics of Christianity. Therefore, what is the point of church when, to them, Christianity is: 'I prayed a prayer one time, and now I just need to be a good person.'
We've thrown out our "outdated" catechisms in favor of Finney's "New Measures" and the results are telling. :(
http://www.pewforum.org/…/americas-chan ... gious-land…/
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby ArcticFox » Thu May 28, 2015 2:00 pm

I think you're right in your comments, and I wanted to note that this:
Therefore, what is the point of church when, to them, Christianity is: 'I prayed a prayer one time, and now I just need to be a good person.'
May well be a side effect of the "once saved, always saved" idea. So even if they were taught the proper lessons at the beginning, it's hard not to let one's self go when there are literally no long term spiritual consequences for turning one's back on those lessons.
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby Whatshisface » Thu May 28, 2015 2:41 pm

You bring up an interesting point - thank you. Just to be clear, confessional Lutherans (i.e. the *non* liberal ones) *thrive* in paradoxes, like simul iustus et peccator. :wink:
May well be a side effect of the "once saved, always saved" idea. So even if they were taught the proper lessons at the beginning, it's hard not to let one's self go when there are literally no long term spiritual consequences for turning one's back on those lessons.
Well, I would argue that it depends upon the lean of the particular church (as well as your own). If the church is arminian in their soteriology then they would probably agree. If reformed, (aka "calvinist") then they would argue that these people were never saved.

I myself would argue that it's both/and. In other words Scripture very clearly indicates that a believer can not fall away - that election ("single predestination," not the Synod of Dort's "double predestination") is sure and no one can be snatched from the Shepherd's hand. Nevertheless, Scripture also makes clear that it is possible to ship-wreck the faith and provides many warnings against apostasy.

Therefore, I don't view this issue as either/or since Holy writ clearly indicates both. While this doesn't make sense to us, we have to remember that His thoughts are higher than ours, and His ways are not ours. This means that we must be careful to consider the whole counsel of God, rather than diminishing or essentially throwing out even a single verse.

My point, overall, is that the gospel is not "say this prayer and then ensure that you are *doing* xyz." The gospel, in a nutshell, is Christ, and Him crucified, buried, resurrected, and coming again - our response, though entirely a gift, is repentance and faith resulting in extrinsic, forensic justification before a Holy God.
Last edited by Whatshisface on Thu May 28, 2015 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby ArcticFox » Thu May 28, 2015 3:10 pm

I think, like anything else, the main factor is consistency. If a person is taught one set of lessons in Sunday School but then goes home to see mom and dad living like Church ceases to exist the other 6 days of the week, they're naturally going to prioritize their spiritual thoughts very low. On the other hand, if the family lives every day the same (Christian) way, then it'll sink in much better, regardless of the specific details of doctrine taught at church.

Add to that the increasing dichotomy between popular culture and Christian morality. What defense does a child have from peer pressure and the desire to fit in, when they go home from school every day and things aren't very different there? Home should be a safe shelter from the world, where Heavenly Father is honored and the children taught to keep their thoughts on Him. When home and the outside aren't so different 6 days of the week, the results are obvious.
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby Whatshisface » Thu May 28, 2015 3:24 pm

I see. :(

My friend, without dragging this into a theology debate, you're incorrect on the "how." Remember that the Word of God will never return void, that it is sharper than any two edged sword, and that it's entirely sufficient for teaching, reproof, training in righteousness, etc. The problem is that these kids are spending their time being entertained and babysat - not taught the Word. When coupled with a lack of instruction from parents, the results can be devastating. That being said, the issue boils down to a gospel one - namely, they are not being taught that biblical, historical Christianity (i.e. the faith once for all delivered to the saints) is predicated upon Jesus' own proclamation: repent and believe; it is from a faithful proclamation of the gospel that good fruit *will* naturally result from the repentant, due to the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Without these, all consistency and even the best additional training will result in works from the kids which are nothing more than filthy rags before the triune God, whom even cherubim and seraphim cry out as "Holy, Holy, Holy." I'm not trying to be mean or snarky, I hope that is apparent.
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby ArcticFox » Thu May 28, 2015 8:30 pm

Rest assured, you're coming off in no way as rude or snarky. :) I'll respond again tomorrow when I have some more time to think on your comments.
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby ArcticFox » Fri May 29, 2015 8:16 am

Ok now I'm awake enough to be coherent ;)

When you say God's Word will never return void, are you making a reference to programming languages? Because that would be a pretty awesome way to phrase it...

I don't think you're wrong in what you're saying, although we may differ in how we see the relative proportions of how these factors produce kids who aren't sticking with the church. It's certainly true that parents aren't making enough of a priority of Gospel instruction with the kids. I'd say that sometimes ties in with the matter of consistency but it's a problem that stands alone as well.

And I do agree that when people are sincerely repentant and faithful, they will bear good fruit.

It's just as I look around, the culture we're in seems to be making it harder and harder to combat worldly influences, which is what's getting in the way of that instruction of the kids in the first place. It used to be "live and let live" but now there's immense pressure on Christians as individuals and as a group to honor worldly philosophies and morality over Heavenly Father's. It not only acts as a form of peer pressure, but entire sects of Christianity are trying to show off their "progressiveness" by embracing the new, secular morality, and then justifying it by claiming it's what Jesus would do... As if Jesus would be the Best Man at a gay wedding.

So naturally as many Christians adapt their doctrine and morality to accommodate popular culture and secular attitudes, the separation between secularism and Christianity shrinks so they become less and less distinguishable, and so studies like this one come as no surprise at all.
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby storm » Fri May 29, 2015 8:33 am

I know around where I live it seems lot of people I know that don't go or have left has been in the main line churches. The smaller or nondenominational ones are doing great. The main thing I see that is different is that the mainlines (here anyway) have changed their statements of faith and their beliefs. They are trying to be like the world instead of like God. The mainline Baptist are the only one that hasn't changed to be like the world and it is doing great too
Again this is in my area and may not reflect the nation as a whole
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby Whatshisface » Fri May 29, 2015 3:51 pm

When you say God's Word will never return void, are you making a reference to programming languages?
No my friend, I've found that some people can feel like I'm trying to insult them if I just quote numerous Scriptures. So rather than straight up quote them proper, I try to paraphrase or integrate a more direct quote in such a way that it comes off less like I'm trying to be a jerk. Anyway, I was paraphrasing Isaiah 55:10 & 11:
"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
although we may differ
Indeed. Our differences on this stem primarily from differing soteriology and theological anthropology. Please don't take that as an insult because it's not intended to be a slight, just an observation.
It's just as I look around, the culture we're in seems to be making it harder and harder to combat worldly influences
To an extent, yes, however this has always been a problem. We've had something of a reprieve in the West but it won't last and we're seeing that now.
So naturally as many Christians adapt their doctrine and morality to accommodate popular culture and secular attitudes, the separation between secularism and Christianity shrinks so they become less and less distinguishable, and so studies like this one come as no surprise at all.
Adaptation of doctrine to surrounding culture is neither new nor surprising. We're in an especially dangerous time in America because of our extreme individualism and an utter disdain for history, especially church history.

Long story short, part of this is a cultural shift but it's also partly a "falling away" within the nation that's been building since the 60's. In the end, God doesn't need us to save His elect. However, we will be accountable to Him for what/how we've taught our kids and that is my primary concern. We've thrown out the historical, biblical patterns for instruction in favor of "revivalism" and entertainment. It's sad you know.
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Re: Millennials leaving church in droves, study finds

Postby ArcticFox » Fri May 29, 2015 4:27 pm

No my friend, I've found that some people can feel like I'm trying to insult them if I just quote numerous Scriptures.
Ahh okay. I was confused because in software development, sometimes programming functions "return void" meaning the execute without communicating any data back to the code that ran it.
Indeed. Our differences on this stem primarily from differing soteriology and theological anthropology. Please don't take that as an insult because it's not intended to be a slight, just an observation.
I didn't find that insulting at all, but thanks for making an effort to be aware :)
Adaptation of doctrine to surrounding culture is neither new nor surprising. We're in an especially dangerous time in America because of our extreme individualism and an utter disdain for history, especially church history.
That, and there's also a growing tendency to encourage people to think that religion and science must necessarily be at odds, and that comes with a heaping helping of historical revisionism. Essentially, in the story of mankind, religion is being cast as the main villain.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
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