I encountered a friend in Menards who asked me, “Why do you think we don’t see many millennials in our churches today?” Great, thought provoking question! Is it because our church facilities are old or they don’t look like a rock concert hall? Or, could it be because we cling to our 60’s or 70’s songs or even hymns? A short while back Barna Research studies found those outside the church, especially the millennials, were not looking for skilled guitarists, smoke, lights or anything close to that. They hadn’t given up on God or Jesus Christ. They had given up on the church because so much of what they saw was mere lifeless tradition. What they wanted to find when they chose to attend a church was people with notable life-change and authentic passion to know and serve God.
When considering all evangelical churches today, it appears to me they all have the same people mixture as the seven churches in Revelations 2-3. Each church then had a percentage of worshippers called “overcomers” with the remaining consisting of what we might call tradition worshippers. These tradition worshippers knew Christ, the truths in the Bible and practiced all the religious rhetoric. They simply had lost the fire in their belly and had become content and distracted with the cares of daily life. Of course, this stopped them from continuing to be changed or going from glory to glory as Paul called it. It was like they had somehow become weary in well-doing and fossilized. Again, the seven churches seemed to have a different percentage of each type of worshipper. I clearly see that today.
Each and every one of those churches mentioned in Revelations have now closed their doors. I wonder if part of the reason they no longer exist can be traced to once lively church attenders having spiritually fossilized. This resulted in young people giving up, not on God, but on the church. The younger generation was searching for solid evidence of a God who still literally changs lives. Beyond lifeless tradition, the church then no longer had anything to offer their young people. Therefore, without that strikingly intangible yet real, divine quality of fire in their belly—passion to know God and make Him known, they eventually died.
I’ve been so inspired and encouraged when I encounter those in many of our churches who, although now past their prime years, are still very fervent in their desire to know God in a more personal way AND dream of sharing that fervency with others, so they too can have the joy, hope and excitement they are experiencing. I’m reminded of Peter who first described Jesus Christ as “a living stone,” then in the very next verse said, “… you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple!!” 1 Peter 2:5 NLT2. That inspires me! That challenges me! Am I a living stone, or am I a petrified rock getting in the way of living stones? It is my sincere prayer that I remain connected to the vine and pass on to others who cross my path the life-changing power, hope, divine peace and joy, so they can enjoy the truly good life. Candidly, I get excited each time I encounter someone in Menards, a restaurant or church who loves to talk about what our great God is doing in their life today.
I want to say to those of you I encounter who have authentic passion; “Thank you, for being a “living stone whom God is using to build His temple today.” I want to be placed in His temple among people like you and be His light on the hillside. I choose to believe you are the type of people who can and will inspire young millennials today to joyfully give their all to build His kingdom instead of their own.