A recent article in ABC News’ Five Thirty Eight makes what appears to be an obvious claim – that Millinnials are leaving religion and not coming back. The article makes some valid points and supports them with examples.
Four in ten millennials call themselves religiously unaffiliated, and a shifting perspective of the role of religion related to morality contributes to the idea that people can be good without a religious compass.
It’s not an unfair or unimportant article, but I think it fails to account for a few things I strongly believe in.
Current trajectories are a poor indicator of final destinations.
That’s a multi-syllabic way of saying that things don’t always go the way they’re pointed. Unexpected things happen. Circumstances change. Hearts change. Minds change.
The article indicates that 23-38 year olds are headed away from organized religion, but I can’t help but think how much my thinking has changed since I was 38. If I were to meet my 38 year old self, I’d whisper in my own ear, “Maybe don’t say much for another ten years. I’m not as sure about some things are I was….and I’m sure about things I doubted back in the day.”
God can accomplish a lifetime of work in a very short span.
Our nation has gone through several religious awakenings that affected huge numbers of people. The first and second great awakening, the Jesus movement, none of these were well-predicted. They were sovereign moves of God.
What if the ‘no’ in the heart of 23-38 year olds comes up against the ‘yes’ in the heart of God? I’m not talking about a few Christian celebrities, although it could certainly include celebrities. I’m thinking about a broad base of people having a spiritual awakening on their own, drawn by God. I’m envisioning dreams in the night for a generation who are free of religious spirits but open to the supernatural.
God has a call on every generation.
I grew up in a church culture that said things like “Revival always starts with the young people” and “We’ve got to reach the next generation”. While I’m suspicious of anything including both of the words “revival” and “always”, there was an element of truth in that the church needs to be focused on reaching young people. Not because they’re most important, but because there’s a generation after them.
Millennials have a destiny in God because whatever we will call post Millennials will also have a destiny in God, and even though Gen Xrs gave them everything from MTV to the iPad (Do not mock….we did), what we cannot give to a generation that we will not see is the gospel.
God so loves the world – even the not-yet-conceived – that they will receive a presentation of His glory. There will remain a witness of the Gospel on the earth long after my generation is in the earth. Millennials, that’s on you.
I don’t believe the trajectory. The encounter of your generation is on it’s way.