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Why are Millennials Leaving the Church?


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Stats suggest that millennials are leaving “religion” in droves.  According to pewforum.org, only 28% of millennials attend church weekly, 38% a few times a year, and 34% never darken the door of a church each year.  In society millennials seem to get a bad reputation, but what is leading them to leave church?

One of the primary objectives of every generation of the church is to hand the faith and the church over to the next generation. Has the church failed in this objective? The Bible teaches this in Titus 2:4-5 "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed".

So the question must be asked:  How does the church reach the next generation? Music and technology are probably the two most  things used to reach this generation. We're told that music must reflect the culture of the generation. A.W. Tozer says it best,  “Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us.” How the church wins people is how they have to keep them. 

What do millennials want? The same thing everyone is looking for. Our time. Our heart. Our attention, along with a chance to actually connect with people. That is one reason why small groups do well with Millennials. Relationship is something every church can be good at. Everyone at your church doesn't need to know everyone. But everyone needs to know someone.

While culture changes, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. We don't need to have our churches reflect entertainment and the culture to draw people to His church. Christ like love still draws people to Christ. 

Please let us know in your comments below why you feel our young people are leaving the church.

Edited by Matt Souza



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Proverbs 1:7 -- "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

In my opinion, they are leaving because they lack the foundational motivation of heart to stay.  They are more concerned about what pleases them than they are about what pleases God.  They do not possess the fear and love of the Lord in their hearts.  Rather, they possess the love of self and the world in their hearts.  They are dull of hearing toward the teaching and preaching of God's Word because they do not possess a foundational fellowship with the God of the Word.  They have entangled themselves with the riches, pleasures, and social connections of this life and world; and those things are choking out their desire for the Lord their God and His Holy Word.  It is ALL about the priority of their hearts.

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7 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Proverbs 1:7 -- "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

In my opinion, they are leaving because they lack the foundational motivation of heart to stay.  They are more concerned about what pleases them than they are about what pleases God.  They do not possess the fear and love of the Lord in their hearts.  Rather, they possess the love of self and the world in their hearts.  They are dull of hearing toward the teaching and preaching of God's Word because they do not possess a foundational fellowship with the God of the Word.  They have entangled themselves with the riches, pleasures, and social connections of this life and world; and those things are choking out their desire for the Lord their God and His Holy Word.  It is ALL about the priority of their hearts.

I have thought about if/how I should respond to this post. I have decided that I will.

I have to respectfully disagree with what you have said here Pastor Markle. While what you say is true it is not exclusive to the Millennial generation. Christian's of all ages groups act this way, senior citizens to children.

Although I hate to admit it but depending on what source you consult I am often found belonging to the Millennial generation. I was born in 1984. My answer is my opinion so you can take it or leave it but this is what I believe...

This generation is one of the first generations to have access to almost unlimited information at the drop of a hat. Any question they have or any issue they want to research can be done so at anytime. With that being said when they ask a question a canned, surface level response often times will not suffice for them. When they press the issue and try to get a more thorough response they are accused of questioning authority. So they get shut down, mad, and offended. What often times began as sincere questioning turns into anger and frustration and a belief that their elders and church leadership don't know what they are talking about.

I believe easy believism has played a big role in this because many of our churches are full of these types of people that don't have a real relationship with Jesus Christ, they are followers of men. Followers of men can't answer spiritual questions. Those people don't study the Scriptures and don't know how to study the Scriptures and sadly many of our churches don't teach people how to study the Scriptures. Many sermons preached are a verse or a part of a verse taken out of context and then 3-5 ideas the preacher came up with to support their removed from context launching point. That is shallow amateurism at best and fraudulent and deceptive at worst. 

I have heard this type of thing defended and justified many times. When the goal of the door to door "soulwinner" is the same as a Kirby vaccum salesman we have a serious problem. They only thing they are after is getting someone to repeat the sinner's prayer. Then declare the person saved to the church. If it is then questioned why that person never comes to church and doesn't want follow up visits the normal response is "well they were just after fire insurance". There is no such thing as fire insurance. When a person is born again they receive the gift of eternal life by grace through faith, the indwelling of the Spirit of God, and a new heart, all of which results in a drastically changed life. When these things don't happen and repeated excuses are made to down play it people will take note and question it, then the cycle from above repeats.

To sum it all up I believe many Millennials want to see genuine people and be able to ask genuine questions and get genuine answers. I believe that often times we fail to be able to do that. It is easy to point the finger at Millennials and say they are the problem and all they are interested in is deifying themselves. It is much harder to look in the mirror and say I have failed to share the message of Christ in a genuine way and make myself available to those that need Christ and need to grow in His grace. The deification of man has been happening for thousands of years, it is not something new...

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47 minutes ago, AdamL said:

I have thought about if/how I should respond to this post. I have decided that I will.

I have to respectfully disagree with what you have said here Pastor Markle. While what you say is true it is not exclusive to the Millennial generation. Christian's of all ages groups act this way, senior citizens to children.

Although I hate to admit it but depending on what source you consult I am often found belonging to the Millennial generation. I was born in 1984. My answer is my opinion so you can take it or leave it but this is what I believe...

This generation is one of the first generations to have access to almost unlimited information at the drop of a hat. Any question they have or any issue they want to research can be done so at anytime. With that being said when they ask a question a canned, surface level response often times will not suffice for them. When they press the issue and try to get a more thorough response they are accused of questioning authority. So they get shut down, mad, and offended. What often times began as sincere questioning turns into anger and frustration and a belief that their elders and church leadership don't know what they are talking about.

I believe easy believism has played a big role in this because many of our churches are full of these types of people that don't have a real relationship with Jesus Christ, they are followers of men. Followers of men can't answer spiritual questions. Those people don't study the Scriptures and don't know how to study the Scriptures and sadly many of our churches don't teach people how to study the Scriptures. Many sermons preached are a verse or a part of a verse taken out of context and then 3-5 ideas the preacher came up with to support their removed from context launching point. That is shallow amateurism at best and fraudulent and deceptive at worst. 

I have heard this type of thing defended and justified many times. When the goal of the door to door "soulwinner" is the same as a Kirby vaccum salesman we have a serious problem. They only thing they are after is getting someone to repeat the sinner's prayer. Then declare the person saved to the church. If it is then questioned why that person never comes to church and doesn't want follow up visits the normal response is "well they were just after fire insurance". There is no such thing as fire insurance. When a person is born again they receive the gift of eternal life by grace through faith, the indwelling of the Spirit of God, and a new heart, all of which results in a drastically changed life. When these things don't happen and repeated excuses are made to down play it people will take note and question it, then the cycle from above repeats.

To sum it all up I believe many Millennials want to see genuine people and be able to ask genuine questions and get genuine answers. I believe that often times we fail to be able to do that. It is easy to point the finger at Millennials and say they are the problem and all they are interested in is deifying themselves. It is much harder to look in the mirror and say I have failed to share the message of Christ in a genuine way and make myself available to those that need Christ and need to grow in His grace. The deification of man has been happening for thousands of years, it is not something new...

Brother AdamL,

I am glad that you chose to present your response.  It is well presented; however, it appears to have one underlying assumption that is wrong in relation to my own response above.  I myself would NOT limit my response above just unto the present generation.  I would have given the same answer for any generation.  In fact, I believe that it is the same problem that is reported throughout Scripture for multiple different generations of Israel in the Old Testament and for various believers in the New Testament.  (Note: If you will take notice, you will find in my above response various allusions to the very teaching of God's Holy Word on the matter.)

On the other hand, I would agree that the scenario which you present above represents a way of falsehood within the Independent Baptist movement.  Certainly this way of falsehood should be rejected.  I myself have rejected it and find it spiritually offensive.  However, in my own ministry experience the "Millenials" (and, for that matter, older generations as well) that have fallen away from faithfulness have done so because they are instead pursuing video games, social media, money accumulation, personal recreation, and other things of the world, not because they could not acquire Biblical answers to their questions.  (Note: Since you do not know me personally, I really cannot prove whether I am a "shallow" or a sound teacher and leader.  I can only refer you to that which I have posted here on Online Baptist.  I suppose that is the only evidence that I can provide to you for whether I am able to give genuine Biblical answers to genuine questions.)  

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
added paranthetical (and, for that matter, older generations as well)

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15 minutes ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother AdamL,

I am glad that you chose to present your response.  It is well presented; however, it appears to have one underlying assumption that is wrong in relation to my own response above.  I myself would NOT limit my response above just unto the present generation.  I would have given the same answer for any generation.  In fact, I believe that it is the same problem that is reported throughout Scripture for multiple different generations of Israel in the Old Testament and for various believers in the New Testament.  (Note: If you will take notice, you will find in my above response various allusions to the very teaching of God's Holy Word on the matter.)

On the other hand, I would agree that the scenario which you present above represents a way of falsehood within the Independent Baptist movement.  Certainly this way of falsehood should be rejected.  I myself have rejected it and find it spiritually offensive.  However, in my own ministry experience the "Millenials" that have fallen away from faithfulness have done so because they are instead pursuing video games, social media, money accumulation, personal recreation, and other things of the world, not because they could not acquire Biblical answers to their questions.  (Note: Since you do not know me personally, I really cannot prove whether I am a "shallow" or a sound teacher and leader.  I can only refer you to that which I have posted here on Online Baptist.  I suppose that is the only evidence that I can provide to you for whether I am able to give genuine Biblical answers to genuine questions.)  

I am of the opinion that it is a combination of both positions that is the truth. 

I think there is a lot of shallowness and hardness in IFB that is driving people away, but I also acknowledge that there is a lot of worldly temptations that is also drawing them away. 

I do not think we have an either or situation here, but rather a "these are both problems" scenario. 

Edited by Jordan Kurecki

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7 minutes ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

I am of the opinion that it is a combination of both positions that is the truth. 

I think there is a lot of shallowness and hardness in IFB that is driving people away, but I also acknowledge that there is a lot of worldly temptations that is also drawing them away. 

I do not think we have an either or situation here, but rather a "these are both problems" scenario. 

I can agree with that.

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1 hour ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother AdamL,

I am glad that you chose to present your response.  It is well presented; however, it appears to have one underlying assumption that is wrong in relation to my own response above.  I myself would NOT limit my response above just unto the present generation.  I would have given the same answer for any generation.  In fact, I believe that it is the same problem that is reported throughout Scripture for multiple different generations of Israel in the Old Testament and for various believers in the New Testament.  (Note: If you will take notice, you will find in my above response various allusions to the very teaching of God's Holy Word on the matter.)

On the other hand, I would agree that the scenario which you present above represents a way of falsehood within the Independent Baptist movement.  Certainly this way of falsehood should be rejected.  I myself have rejected it and find it spiritually offensive.  However, in my own ministry experience the "Millenials" (and, for that matter, older generations as well) that have fallen away from faithfulness have done so because they are instead pursuing video games, social media, money accumulation, personal recreation, and other things of the world, not because they could not acquire Biblical answers to their questions.  (Note: Since you do not know me personally, I really cannot prove whether I am a "shallow" or a sound teacher and leader.  I can only refer you to that which I have posted here on Online Baptist.  I suppose that is the only evidence that I can provide to you for whether I am able to give genuine Biblical answers to genuine questions.)  

I appreciate your response Pastor Markle. I agree with what you said and as you continue to point out that those issues are not exclusive to Millennials but have been an issue for humanity for generations. Men have been leaving God in pursuit of the world for as long as we have existed. I was trying to share something from my personal experience that may effect Millennials specifically as opposed to everyone.

As you stated I do not know you personally and no very very little about the ministry Christ has given you. All I can ask of each of us, myself included, is that we live for the Lord not in word and deed only but with our whole hearts. That is the only way our love and faith can be expressed genuinely, if our whole heart is turned over to the Lord. I believe that our true pursuit of the Lord and holiness will lead to dealing with true matters of the heart and less on cheap exterior window dressing.

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6 minutes ago, AdamL said:

I was trying to share something from my personal experience that may effect Millennials specifically as opposed to everyone.

Understood and appreciated. In fact, I agree that much in the Independent Baptist movement has become more about supporting the movement, than about holding forth the true doctrine of God's Word.  I myself have expressed my burden various times on the forum that there is so little sound Bible study within the movement.

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I am always suspicious of stats and polls, simply because many of them, like this one, do not list the parameters that the information was gathered under.

For instance, these stats indicate the effects on Millennials. I would then be forced to ask, "what millennials?"

I would consider it relevant if they were stats of church members.  BUT

If they are stats of the general population of millennials in society it is not relevant.

Stats and polls are highly influenced by how a question is asked and the content of the question.

This article seems to lump both millennials in society as a whole, along with possible church members, this is misleading.

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On 2/24/2019 at 10:39 AM, Jim_Alaska said:

I am always suspicious of stats and polls, simply because many of them, like this one, do not list the parameters that the information was gathered under........

If they are stats of the general population of millennials in society it is not relevant.

The poll was a simple poll that have stats about the generation that we call millennials. The polls parameters are simple, are millennials going to church? I believe the poll is relevant because of our command to preach the gospel to every creature. 

In my opinion, millennials are not what society stereotypes them as, as they are a huge part of our church. 

 

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That was my point BroMatt. The question could be asked another way if it only applied to the general population, not necessarily church goers.

For instance it could also be asked in another way that would be relevant to the general population like this: Are people going to church?

I guess what I am trying to show is about how a question is asked because it makes all the difference. If the millennials are church goers the answer to the question would be different from if they are not.

But then, I'm probably just muddying the waters.

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I understand, the reason why the question was asked is because I visited about a hundred of churches last few years and this is the topic about millennial's that always seems to come up in our Baptist churches. Just discussing what seems like a majority of churches are asking. 

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My seven grandchildren are all millennials. None of them go to church. Their reason is they all grew up in public school and are evolutionists. They were not taught the Word in school. They believe in the science they were taught. After 12-16 years of school their "truth" is based on this science. I keep trying, but it is hard to overcome this situation.

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On 2/25/2019 at 7:39 PM, BobbyH said:

My seven grandchildren are all millennials. None of them go to church. Their reason is they all grew up in public school and are evolutionists. They were not taught the Word in school. They believe in the science they were taught. After 12-16 years of school their "truth" is based on this science. I keep trying, but it is hard to overcome this situation.

Unfortunately that is what happens when parents do not take the education of their children seriously. When our children are turned over to the state for indoctrination what else do we expect?

I went to public school. I didn't get saved until I was an adult. Evolution was ingrained in my mind as a fact. Even though I didn't really understand it I just accepted it as true. After I got saved the first time I heard a pastor preach about young earth creationism I was looking around the auditorium wondering if anyone else was as confused and shocked as I was. It took a lot of time for the Word to sink in and break down those strongholds. 

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I think the main problem is that those preaching and teaching and leading are not truly saved. Making them unable to tell others about the true joy of salvation. 

Also, if you’re divorced and you’re questioned about and told people’s opinion they don’t believe in divorce or remarriage. Who would come back to be judged by the PAST? It can’t be changed.

The worst thing I’ve experienced with IFB is the judgmentalism of being divorced. Nobody knows what I went thru or how hard I worked to keep the marriage. To be looked upon as a failure and unworthiness to be marry again is heartbreaking.

 

Edited by Miss Daisy

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Miss Daisy, there are certainly going to be false teachers among us. We need to be on guard and follow "The Gospel" and "the apostle's doctrine" so we can identify these "wolves in sheep's clothing".

As for the divorce issue it should probably be addressed in a different forum.

I pray that you find peace.

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This is why they and everyone else leaves:

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” - 1 John 2:19

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Most everything that majority of baptist churches do is weak and unbiblical. The millennials that are seeking the truth are hard pressed to find it. The constant altar calls where people get saved "again" every week are laborious to endure. They are not trained up with doctrine, and are sent off to bible college to learn "the deeper things" of the bible, rather than sitting through doctrine packed sermons all their life and knowing the bible well before they become an adult.

The churches are more interested in giving a few bucks to far off missionaries than actually training people up in ministering the gospel to people, so the young people don't really have anything of substance to do for God, so there is very little meaning in what they have done. 

People know when their churches are dead and dying. The heads get more and more grey, they have nothing of substance to do other than greeting the same people every week and occasionally making a show of emotion at an unbiblical altar while they pray in front of everyone. 

On top of all of that, the independent churches no longer have a captive audience. The millennials are going online and finding preaching which goes against one of the seemingly foundational IFB doctrines, which is the Jews being God's chosen people. When they look at modern day Israel and the Jews, they are finding it difficult to believe that those are God's people. When someone teaches them a clear doctrine from the bible that the Jews are of the bondwoman, and not the free, they start to get it. If they decide that they are not God's people, then it is hard for them to sit in church and listen to the preaching, which often times is a central theme of the churches. When they hear scriptures that say you can't have the Father without the Son, they lose respect for those who teach that the Jews have the Father, but not the Son. 

I'm sure that we are seeing a great falling away as well, so we should get ready for tribulation, which is another point of contention.

 

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