“College-aged millennials today are far more likely than the general population to be religiously unaffiliated,” according to the Pew Research Center. “This is true when they are compared to previous generations as well.”
Furthermore Pew documents that millennials are the least outwardly religious American generation, where “one in four are unaffiliated with any religion, far more than the share of older adults when they were ages 18 to 29.’”
This information comes from an article on FoxNews.com by Dr. Alex McFarland, Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University. He’s the author of the book “Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home.”
McFarland writes that just over 60 percent of millennials say that Christianity is ‘judgmental,’ and 64 percent say that ‘anti-gay’ best describes most churches today.
Here are 10 reasons why millennials are rejecting Christianity, according to McFarland.
1. Mindset of “digital natives” is very much separate from other generations.
2. Breakdown of the family.
3. Militant secularism.
5. The church’s cultural influence has diminished.
6. Pervasive cultural abandonment of morality.
7. Intellectual skepticism.
8. The rise of a fad called “atheism.”
9. Our new God: Tolerance be Thy name. “
10. The commonly defiant posture of young adulthood.
While reading this article and reflecting on these 10 reasons, there seems to be a common denominator in at least 8 of these and indirectly in all 10. In one word it is “influence.”
It is the lack of godly influences in the home, the church and society in general. And the pervasive negative, ungodly influences through mass media, movies, music, and television. Many are influenced by secular progressives in our universities and colleges. And sadly, too many churches in America have failed. Failed to teach Truth. Failed to uphold principles of righteousness. Failed God’s mission for His church.
McFarland opines that “most churches are so occupied with ‘marketing’ themselves to prospective attendees that they wouldn’t dream of risking their ‘brand’ by speaking tough-as-nails truth.” He charges that a “prayerless, powerless church peddling versions of ‘Christianity Lite’ share in the blame.”
I haven’t read McFarland’s book, so I don’t know what solutions he suggests. But I have read the Bible. Here are few ideas on influencing our youth in the right direction.
(1) It must begin in the home. Mothers and fathers must take responsibility for raising their children “in the training and admonition of the Lord’ (Eph 6:4).
(2) Children must be taught honor, respect, and obedience and disciplined when they fail to show respect to authority figures (Eph 6:1; Prov 29:17; 22:6).
(3) Parents, however, must provide an atmosphere love, kindness and mutual respect in the home (Eph 5:22-33). Sociologist Mary Eberstadt was right when she wrote, “The fortunes of religion rise or fall with the state of the family.” The Old Testament commands issued to Israel regarding the role and responsibility of parents needs to be revived today (Deut 6:4-9)
(4) Preachers, pastors and Bible teachers must not be afraid to boldly “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:16). While I may not agree with all of McFarland’s theology, he’s correct about churches hawking “Christianity Lite.” The Lord’s Church must be “the pillar and ground of the Truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). If God’s Word is not preached in our pulpits, where should we expect it to be proclaimed?
(5) Individually Christians must take personal responsibility for being “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt 5:13-16). Young people need righteous role models who are sincerely seeking to live a Christian life, following the footsteps of Jesus and rejecting the corruption of our culture.
We may feel we cannot change the world. But we can positively impact the life of one young person where we live. In our home. In our congregation. In our community.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman