I must start with an apology to those who are in their 20’s in the church, or those considering if they still want to be a part of the church.
1. I am sorry that we made the church to be all about you growing up. We were always looking for ways to make it more fun and fabulous, and “You” were the mantra of the church: "How YOU can be a winner in life;” “Ways YOU can make a difference in the world.” I think we thought that if we made it cool for YOU, YOU would want to stay. We heard the statistics about how you were “going to leave” the church when you got out of high school and we didn’t want that to happen. That’s when we over compensated. I am sorry we lied to you! The church is not about YOU, it is all about GOD!
2. I am sorry that we tried to make church “cool”. We were trying to be relevant to the culture. Yet, in our attempt to be relevant we didn’t lead you away from the culture, but away from the one you should be like; namely, Jesus. We are to be in the world, just not of world. We didn’t focus on the “not of the world” because we feared that would make us weird. If we were weird you probably wouldn’t have invited your friends to church. I am sorry we led you to think like the world rather than tell you that you are not of this world in Christ.
3. I am sorry that we talked a lot about the fruit or lack of fruit in your life. We thought if we told you what fruit looked like you would miraculously have fruit in your life or want to have fruit in your life. We were concerned about our reputation as a church. If you didn’t look like us or say the things we said, how would people know you are from the church? I am sorry we didn’t tell you the Christian life is about being connected to the right root, Jesus, before you can bear the right fruit. We prioritized behavior over belief. I am sorry!
So how do we move forward? Here's my answer:
1. Don’t blame the church. Be the Church! You may have had bad experiences with the church because we made it all about you. But here is the deal: You can’t keep pointing the finger at the church. At some point you have to take some personal responsibility and start being the church. I have been married for 14 years and the longer I am married the more I am realizing that the “blame game” doesn’t work in my relationship with my wife. If our marriage is struggling, blaming my wife only gets me more troubles. When I am the husband God has called me to be, things start to change in our marriage. The same thing will happen to you if you stop blaming the church and start being the church!
2. Find some people from your church who are in a different age group and spend time with them. One of my greatest concerns for the millennial generation is your lack of time with people that are older than you in the church. I am concerned that you are missing the blessing of multi-generational wisdom and insight into your life with God and living it out with other believers. Spend time with believers who are further down the road with God than you are. God wants to use their experiences (good and bad) to teach you and help you in your journey.
3. Serve the church God has placed you in. Maybe the best thing for you to do is not to find a “new” church but go back to your “old” church, pick up a towel, and start serving. Serving others in your church will open your eyes and affirm how and why God has given you specific talents and abilities. It may not be cool and flashy. You may not get tagged on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat while you serve in the kids’ ministry, mow the yard, or welcome people to church (because the people you are serving with don’t use social media). The reward outweighs the temporary good feeling of seeing yourself on those social media platforms. Remember the greatest ones in Jesus’ eyes are the ones who serve, not get the most likes on Facebook or hearts on Instagram.