Author Rachel Held Evans' Take on 'Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church' Goes Viral, Sparks Debate
An article written by Christian author and blogger Rachel Held Evans has gone viral, sparking a debate among Christian thinkers as to why those belonging to the millennial generation are leaving the church and what should be done about it.
In the article, which has garnered 196,000 Facebook recommendations since it was published Saturday morning on CNN's Belief Blog, the 32-year-old says she barely qualifies as a millennial because of her age, but she tends to identify with the younger generation and is often asked to speak about why those who are a part of it are leaving the church. Christian leaders, evangelical ones in particular, tend to assume that they can reach millennials by updating their church's style, she writes, but what young people are really searching for is "a change in substance."
Millennials, she suggests, want a "truce" between faith and science, churches that emphasize allegiance to God's kingdom over allegiance to a political party, to be challenged to live holy lives and for the LGBT community to feel welcome in faith communities, among other things.
"You can't hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around," wrote Evans. "We're not leaving the church because we don't find the cool factor there; we're leaving the church because we don't find Jesus there."
At the end of her article, she suggests church leaders who want to win young people back to the church should ask them what they're searching for and how they would like to contribute.
Critics of Evans' piece generally agree that trying to make churches "cool" is simply not enough to keep millennials interested, but there are a variety of different opinions on how the church should begin trying to solve the problem.
Brett McCracken, author of Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism and Liberty, said in an article for The Washington Post's On Faith blog that "Christianity has become too obsessed with how it is perceived." Millennials do not have it all figured out, he writes, and instead of telling church leaders what the church should look like, they should be the ones listening to the wisdom of pastors, parents and older believers.
"As a Millennial, if I'm truly honest with myself, what I really need from the church is not another yes-man entity enabling my hubris and giving me what I want," wrote McCracken. "Rather, what I need is something bigger than me, older than me, bound by a truth that transcends me and a story that will outlast me; basically, something that doesn't change to fit me and my whims, but changes me to be the Christ-like person I was created to be."
Read Full Article at Christian Post