Millenials are quitting church. The statistics are staggering, and I’ve heard them quoted from the pulpit with horror and disdain. I could go into all the reasons why this is, but other people have already done this and well. Sam Eaton’s post 12 Reasons Why Millenials are Over Church resonates with both Jimmy and myself. He put into words thoughts that I hadn’t yet even fully articulated.
We made the decision to quit church with sad and heavy hearts. It was not a decision we took lightly and only after taking time and seeking our Savior. A few mornings ago Jimmy and I sat and sipped our coffee to song and album I Quit Church by Matt and Toby. Again, someone else put into lyrics and music something that reflected our own hearts. I recommend a listen to the whole album, but songs like The Pastor Stopped by particularly moved us. These two songs reflect our own lament and grief for the church.
After we made the decision to quit church, we looked at each other and said, “Now what?”. First, let me point out what we haven’t quit. We have not stopped loving God. We believe His word is true yesterday, today, and for all eternity. I want Christ’s presence to permeate my home and teach my children to love and know God. No we’re not a part of the institution of church. We’re not formal members, regular attenders, or guests of any local church. We are a part of God’s church and for that reason we’re excited.
Jimmy and I each have master degrees from seminary. We’re excited for the first time since graduating over seven years ago to actually use our education and talents! We’re going to make disciples, love people, and build community. We are not gifted or passionate to do this in a traditional, typical way in which the local American church would embrace or accept. I once had a pastor tell me that I did not have a “spiritual covering” because I wasn’t at the time attending church. I do not need the covering of a man, building, tradition, culture, laws, or rules, because I have Jesus. Pray for us. Pray that God teaches us and shows us what to do each step of the way in this journey of obeying Him and being His church.
There’s a groaning in this generation to grow and experience Jesus in exhilarating ways. And maybe, just maybe this is why millennials are leaving the church because Jesus is calling them to go out and make disciples as they trust and follow Him. (Rachel Swanson, Are Millenials Really leaving the Church?)