Why are Young People Leaving the Church?
Following a recent article on CNN titled Why Millennials are leaving the Church, blogger Christopher Smith took a moment to reflect on the issue a hand and share what he believed was the solution for transforming the Christian church. Smith believes that the key to reviving Milennials faith in Christ lies in a “Slow Church” movement. The idea, which is modeled after the Slow Food health philosophy, is about examining all sides of Christian life. Instead of simply focusing on the end result, spending eternity in Heaven, a Slow Church looks at the means of being a Christian and what a single person can do to transform their community. To troubled Millenials, smith writes,
“Don’t give up hope. We need you to bear witness to a different way WITHIN our churches. Talk with the leaders of your churches, challenge them to read books with you and discuss them. Dare to imagine and seek a meaningful life that is centered in your church community. Find a congregation that you have some connection to and can at least tolerate, and stay put; be patient, and always keep asking and seeking, even when doing so isn’t always appreciated. Find friends in your congregation that will commit to staying put and asking and seeking together with you.”
Smith’s article is by no means the first to call for a reformation in the Christian community. Churches, as centers of growth and healing of all people, must maintain their spiritual integrity without being influenced by politics or personal agendas. However, we must never forget that the cornerstone of Jesus ministry was the gospel of Grace, and if grace is lacking in any church it is doomed to fail. Noted blogger Tullian Tchividjian expounds upon this topic in an article titled, We don’t find Grace, Grace Finds Us. In this article Tchividjian writes,
The Gospel is not a story of God meeting sinners half-way, of God desperately hoping to find that one righteous man on whom he can bestow his favor. The news is so much better than that. The Gospel is that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Sinners like Noah, like you, and like me are recipients of a descending, one-way love that changes everything, breathes new life into dead people, and has the power to carry us from unrighteousness to righteousness without an ounce of help.
The world is changing, and in some ways the church must learn to change with it. Christians may have to reexamine their philosophies, question long-held methods attached to their faith, and face difficult questions with no easy answers. However, we can take heart knowing that Christ’s sacrifice and the message of his grace, is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Whatever the future may bring, God’s love endures forever.
*This article first posted 7/29/2013