Millennial: The Pagan Generation?

…While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God’s existence, that’s a 15-point drop in just five years. In 2007, 83% of American millennials said they never doubted God’s existence. More young people are expressing doubts about God now than at any time since Pew started asking the question a decade ago. Thirty-one percent disagreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God,” double the number who disagreed with it in 2007. Atheist organizer takes ‘movement’ to nation’s capital. When asked about doubts of God, no other generation showed a change of more than 2% in the past five years. Source.

Just a few thoughts about the quote above and then I’d love to hear your opinion…

1. Where have we gone wrong?

Seriously, where did all of this come from. Where’s the gap for young people. I’m a young person (A millennial in fact), but I don’t know the answer. Where’s the breakdown in connecting people to God? Churches everywhere have started ‘contemporary’ services and new programs in an attempt to reach young people, but it doesn’t seem to be working. What can we do differently?

2. We MUST raise up YOUNG leaders in the church.

Really. Pour into your young people. Don’t pass them off as the church of tomorrow, because there won’t be a church of tomorrow without young people becoming leaders today. I don’t mean that we give millennials a lot of work and no responsibility. I mean we mentor them, we prepare them, we believe in them, we trust them, and we equip them. Let them lead. Be intentional. Let them fail and let their passion change the world around them.

3. We need answers to questions we’ve never asked.

Young people today have different questions than what you had as a young person. We’re constantly bombarded with differing views about spirituality and religion. The church has to be prepared to answer these questions with real, relevant, and non scripted answers. Do we have to have all the answers? No. We must, however, show them how a belief in God can help them and is the right thing. Be prepared for the tough questions… find answers.

What are your thoughts? What’s wrong? What can we do? What can I as a millennial do? Help us in the comments.

19 Comments

  1. I like the last few sentences in particular. From where we live, I can totally see how teens disconnect from God. Very little in their church or family experience points to a living and active God. A bunch of “going through the motions” surely isn’t compelling.

    Reply
    1. Absolutely not. That’s not just where you live. I think it’s across the board. We’ve made it more of just something to fall back on rather than a daily, active, and worthy faith. Thanks, Joey.

      Reply
  2. I think a lot of this comes from our culture and the way young people are influenced. I strongly believe it also starts at home. Children were either raised in Church and were sheltered or never stepped foot in a Church and never had a foundation of faith to begin with.

    What I see most often is younger children who were raised in a Church start rebelling when they reach adulthood. If you are speaking more from the perspective of our generation, I think it’s mostly our culture.

    Other factors could be – fear & rejection. I think if more Churches focused less on the programs that ‘reach’ the younger generation and focused more on real issues & problems and were supportive, children may be more apt to stick to their faith and relationship with God. They also need that support at home from their parents.

    Reply
    1. Some great points, Julie. I really like what you said about our peers being sheltered and not knowing how to REALLY LIVE out their faith. That’s a key that I hadn’t really thought of. Thanks for adding to the convo!

      Reply
  3. Yesterday there was a baby dedication in our services and I was kind of disappointed by some of what was asked by the pastor doing the dedication:

    “Do you promise to have {child’s name} participate in church programs?”

    I had enough of a reaction to get “the look” from my wife… the one that told me to behave.

    This statement says it all: bring your kid to programs. Bring yourself to programs. This is why the church exists: programs.

    My experience with the millennials tells me that they are tired of going to programs, and watching people go to programs, that have no bearing on how they live their life. If we begin to engage people in discipleship… true, life-changing discipleship I am convinced that we will start to make a difference. The problem is that this is a big change from the program-driven mentality that has evolved within the church over the last forty years or so.

    Reply
    1. ewww… yeah, I can see why you may have that reaction. I think you’re onto something too. Programs are fine, but my generation is more interested in the outcome of those programs and what they can participate in to impact the people around them. Well said, Matt.

      Reply
  4. Kelvin Walker

    I don’t know the answer. But my generation (on the border of buster & gen-x) needs to learn that starting a “contemporary service” or another “program geared towards the younger generation” isn’t going to help. Relational transformation is the only thing that seems to help me connect. Opportunities for genuine, authentic, honest, non-judgmental conversations, while not the “fix-all,” seems to open the door. I appreciate your blogs & insights. They’re helpful & keep me on my toes.

    Reply
  5. I think the problem is a disconnect between what we say and what we do.

    We say one thing – and do another. There’s no connection between church members on Sunday’s (and other services) to their life every where else.

    If you say it – do it. If you believe it – live it. Take ownership for your actions, and try to positively influence those around you. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain by living your values.

    Reply
    1. “I think the problem is a disconnect between what we say and what we do.”

      YES! I definitely agree with you. That’s certainly one of the main issues. My generation wants to see real even if it isn’t perfect. Great point! Thanks, David.

      Reply
  6. Murray The Atheist

    The short answer is simply that kids are smarter today. They have the world literally at their finger tips, and can quickly learn that religion is nothing more than an invention by superstitious misogynist old men from the bronze age, and continues today by superstitious misogynist old men who are running for office.

    Reply
    1. Hey Murray,

      We obviously disagree with a lot of things. In fact, much of what is discussed above is partly why you don’t believe either. Those of us that do believe in Christ and Christianity haven’t done a good job of showing why we believe and why it is more than just a made up thing… it does have real, living power. Really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and for stoppin by.

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  7. yohan

    maybe that’s just that more and more people each year start to think by themselves and I think it’s a good thing. And like Murray said nowadays we have more and more answers. With science and facts, and I think I’m not the only one to believe that god, the fairy tooth and santa claus are equally likely to exist. Everyone is entitled to its belief but to brainwash your kids with this kind of thing…I think it’s bad, the main reason for having still so many believers is that most of them have been told the same stories since they were very young, and by parents/family, people their trust so they’re not likely to really doubt it and it’s sad. I don’t have a problem with people believing in god or whatnot but I think they shouldn’t brainwash their kids, they should let them have their own opinion

    Reply
    1. I could not agree that everyone should be allowed to develop their own opinion. I think most Christians would agree with that. The issue for me, and others that have commented, is that we believe strongly that God is real and is the answer to the questions science and people have failed to firmly answer. Just like anything else, if we believe it firmly and strongly enough, we’re compelled to tell others and be committed to passing it along. I’m just trying to start a conversation around why that’s not happening. Hope that clears some of it up. Thanks so much for stopping by and adding to the conversation!

      Reply
      1. yohan

        It is a bit clearer now. However I can only be more surprised. I mean did we not learn from history that if in this day and age science doesn’t have the answer it still might be totally different tomorrow.

        Just a simple example, for instance let’s take the thunder, what would the world be like if we’d stop looking for answer through science and just said I don’t have a simple answer so..it must just be god. We would still believe thunder is the expression of the anger of a god? we would still drill hole in people head when they’re ill, we would still think that we the sun rotate around the earth because it looks like it?

        I think you got my point, but that’s not all. I mean I can understand that some people might think.. ok now science has done everything, if it hasn’t been discovered yet then, no science can explain it it has to be god, but why now? science never stop to discover (progressively of course) how things works for centuries why do you think it has come to an end?

        I would totally understand that we can disagree on this, I mean this my opinion and it seems logical to me but it is of course your right to think otherwise.

        But on your second point i feel like I really have to answer and argue. How you feel compelled to tell others and passing it along, I think it’s a bit obnoxious. If think it’s just a nicer way of saying “guys I get it, I understand everything the meaning of life and everything, you really have to listened to me cause, I’m right, and you won’t be able to get it by yourself”, if it’s so clear and simple that god has to be the answer to everything then people should be able to understand it themselves don’t you think?

        Sorry if I don’t always make a lot of sense, English is not my first language and I’ve had a long day at work.

        Anyway one last thing I wanted to say is…i guess it’s really hard to “put oneself in someone else shoes” I mean, I cannot imagine how you feel and what it is to believe, as much as (I guess) you can’t either, really know what it is to just being immune to the concept of god, like to me it doesn’t make any sense why would a god exist I really don’t get it.
        One last example to maybe try and help you understand how some atheists think (cause if I finally got it right it was one of the purpose of the post, understand them and maybe be able to reach them) so one last example, imagine someone coming up to you and saying: “I got it, gods it’s the answer, the thunder it’s because of Zeus he gets mad and throws thunder. The tides it’s just Poseidon he’s the god of the seas he can do whatever he wants with the seas and for some reasons he decided to do the tides high and low every 6 hours, etc…” I guess you would find that..peculiar, well it’s kind of the same thing for me, because, anything you and I cannot understand today, tomorrow someone will come up with and explanation, if not tomorrow..then later, and maybe even never. And even if no one ever comes up with an explanation, it still doesn’t mean that there is not one…

        Sorry for the long post, and I hope I helped at least a little bit!

        Reply
        1. We can definitely agree to disagree. I do completely understand what you’re saying about advancing in knowledge. In fact, I think we both agree that science has accurately explained a lot. The one thing I’d ask about is, where does it begin? Where did the original matter come from. Everything comes from the result of something. It has to be traced back to a beginning point. I guess in my mind at least, it has to be a Creator. Something can’t come from nothing. I’d rather think that God was the original than some particles or matter that have never been said or found to create.

          Thanks for the discussion. I’m tired from a long day myself. :-)

          Reply

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