I’ve spent a lot of time in a lot of different churches over the years. You’ve all heard about my adventures with the church in European tourism. But today we’re going to talk about the mess that is millennials in the American church. This might be a problem in other countries as well, but I don’t have the data for that, so we’re going to focus on what I see right here.
My grandpa has a habit of collecting books about Christian issues. I have a habit of reading everything in sight. So what a lot of my grandpa’s books tell me is that the church is dying. It’s dying because young people don’t go to church. It’s not even that they don’t believe. It’s just that they don’t go.
Well, I’m young, and I’m here to tell you why. It’s simple, really. It’s because you’re trying too hard. Worship is all smoke and mirrors and pop songs. Like, seriously, sometimes I listen to the radio for ten or twenty minutes before I even realize I’m on a Christian station, because it all sounds like generic love songs. All the old traditions are out. For crying out loud, there’s a modern American slang translation of the Bible. I have had to read, with my own two eyes, things like, “And then Jesus was like, hey, man, that’s not cool,” and some translator out there probably thinks he did me a favor.
My grandpa’s books also told me that if someone who doesn’t go to church is going to, they’ll go for an old, fancy, traditional one.
And you’re out here trying so hard to be relevant, to appeal to the young adult demographic by being cool and modern and whatever—we don’t want it. It isn't real. It comes off exactly like the marketing technique it is, and I don’t go to church because they’re selling something.
I have never once felt the presence of God in a church designed to appeal to my generation. That’s not to say He isn't there, because He is, but you sure have buried Him under a whole lot of crap.
Kids don’t want relevance. Kids want authenticity.
If your primary focus is drawing in a younger audience, that means your primary focus isn't God. And that’s why you fail.
Don’t give me upbeat pop songs and sermons full of fandom references. Give me faith. Give me hope. Give me love.
Give me something real, and maybe I’ll give you my attendance.