Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Millennials are Connecting Spiritually through Food, Fitness, and Technology Rather Than through Church

  • Veronica Neffinger

    Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the…

  • 2017 Aug 04

A new Pew Research Center study has found that millennials are replacing church with other things such as social media, fitness, and food.

The New York Post reported on the results of the Pew Research Center study which found that only 27 to 28 percent of millennials regularly attend religious services. However, as the study’s title “Millennials are less religious than older Americans, but just as spiritual” suggests, the millennial generation still seeks after a religious connection, but expresses their spirituality through other means than traditional church services.

One of those avenues of spiritual fulfillment for millennials is fitness. Madison Blank, a 27-year-old millennial, often wakes up at dawn to attend a fitness class, led by instructor Holly Rilinger.

Blank explains, in somewhat spiritual terms, why the class is such an important part of her routine: “A whole team of people, including Holly, is rooting for you to succeed, which doesn’t happen all that often in real life. Coming together with a class forms an unbreakable unity — at least for that hour.”

Fitness has allowed me to connect to my inner self more … than sitting through a religious service,” she continued. “A great instructor provides spiritual guidance and builds a community.”

Other millennials are seeking spiritual fulfillment through social media. Consistent with this trend, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has even described the community found on Facebook as a type of church, a place where “people who now need to find a sense of purpose and support.”

Millennial Courtney Ferrucci shared how Facebook allows her to connect with others in her profession: “We’re dealing with the same struggles, the same life events. We give advice to each other and support each other. If there’s a problem, there will immediately be 30 girls trying to help.”

Food and restaurants are another substitute that millennials are pursuing in place of church. Millennials like Kayvon Touran often frequent their favorite restaurants with friends and find community around a table laden with pizza, tacos, or other dishes.

Touran describes the experience of frequenting his favorite restaurant with his friends every week: “I can’t think of anywhere else I would be able to have that feeling — of being comfortable and collecting myself from the week. I think that’s why we call it ‘church.’ It’s bigger than the individual person.”


Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/oneinchpunch

Publication date: August 4, 2017