The #1 Reason Millennials are Ditching the Church (and 4 Things We Can Do about It)

The #1 Reason Millennials are Ditching the Church (and 4 Things We Can Do about It)

We’ve all read the headlines that millennials are peeling out of church parking lots and not coming back. Why? Reasons range all over the map, from their view that churches pay insufficient attention to the poor to the complaint of bad signage once they’re in the building.

The overriding argument is that Christians blame the culture too much for problems that are ours to own. Which is to say, the primary culprit for millennials ditching church points one direction: to people like me, the over forty-year-old believers. If we would do church differently, millennials would take another look.

What could we do different, specifically?

#1: Engage critical thinking.

Professor L. Gregory Jones, a senior strategist for leadership education at Duke University, said, “Christianity in the United States hasn’t done a good job of engaging serious Christian reflection.”

Instead, the church today is struggling with a heritage of, as mega-Manhattan Redeemer Presbyterian church’s Kathy Keller puts it, “pious babble.

We need to shift this paradigm. How?

Start with these questions: how does one marry the values of Scripture with the data of science? Also, how did we wind up with so many denominations and what are the differences and do they still matter and why? Also, what was God’s intention with the Abraham & Isaac sacrifice story or other controversial stories? Also, what’s up with Paul telling women to shush in this line over here, then calling Junia a fellow apostle in that line over there?

Then ask yourself: if I can’t answer these questions, yet I’ve been in church for decades, what have I been doing all this time?

Then, stop doing some of that. It isn’t growing us up.

Instead, find resources that refrain from using the same churchy jargon that has shown up over and over on Sunday mornings. If we want millennials to stick around, we need to graduate from milk to solid food ourselves first (Hebrews 5:11-13).Millennials still tend to have a high view of Scripture and will respond to mentors who are willing to look at their questions and say, “Let’s walk through this together. We’ll take it one page at a time.”