Millenials Will Change Everything
I have always seen myself as an outcast. Someone who never really fit in anywhere. Ironically, especially in the church. Then I realized that was because most of my Christian friends are older than me, part of a different generation with a different mindframe. You’d think that a shared biblical worldview would eliminate this. However, I am learning that those within my generation, the millenials, see things a lot differently than those outside our generation. Even with our foundational beliefs based on the same biblical fundamentals. I just seem to be a little more outspoken than most of my fellow millenials.
But there is a large common denominator that the vast majority of millenials share. There have been plenty of studies and statistics to support this. I’ve read quite a few of them. But there’s a big difference between reading them and actually connecting with peers who share the same mindset. I won’t bore you with the statistics. (Plus, that requires more work on my end. Lol) I am simply going to speak as a millenial who knows others like me who share the same thoughts. What are the big differences between millenials and our predecessors?
1. We Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness
I’ll start with what I believe is the biggest. This one applies to both Christian millenials and non-Christians. Especially for Christian millenials I would say this is probably the bottom line for us. It is “the buck stops here” foundation upon which a lot of us stand. Here it is: We don’t give a crap about your religion.
Holy cow! Did he really just say that? Yes I did. The bottom line is that we simply don’t care about your religous idolatry. We have lost faith in organized religion and in the traditions of the scribes and Pharisees who have come before us. We hunger and thirst for righteousness. Real righteousness. For solid biblical truth grounded in the Scriptures and not tradition. For deep and meaningful worship, community and service to others.
These are the things we want. Not your extra-biblical traditions which you have prescribed we must obey in order to be good Christians as the Pharisees once did for the Jews. Which brings me to my next point.
2. We Want to Be Like Christ
We are tired of the older men and women we look to for guidance trying to squeeze us into their religious molds. I have seen this common consensus very strongly expressed in other believers within my generation. We don’t need you to preach to us about behavior modifaction. God is at work in our hearts already calling us to change. What we want from our shepherds is to be fed spiritual truth that will guide us into that change, walk us through the process, encourage us and empower us.
We want the freedom to be conformed to the image of Christ. Not the shackles to be chained down by religion. The vast majority of millenials strongly feel this way. We know that this world is missing something we long for. Even with the best of comforts our plush American lives may provide. We know there is something missing. We are falling madly in love with God in numbers that haven’t been seen in a long time. We are also well aware of our own idaquacies and that’s why we long for our mentors to lead us in the way of righteousness. Not in the way of whatever religious traditions were handed down to them.
3. We Love to Love
This last point is one I have seen in amazing unity among my fellow millenial believers lately: We are sick and tired of the hate-mongering. We have grown up in a pluralistic society right alongside friends who are a lot different than us and don’t share our faith. But they are still our friends and we will stand for truth but we simply cannot bring ourselves to hate them.
When I made my stance clear on my refusal to hate, preach hate, promote hate or participate in the spread of hateful dogma in light of the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage I was retorted by an older pastor with these words, “Yes, Jesus loves everybody. But Jesus was also offensive.” I do not apologize for being a part of a generation that simply will not accept such hateful, religous, unbiblical dogma. The only people Jesus was offensive to were the religous leaders of His day because they “shut off the kingdom of heaven from people” with all their religion (Mt 23:13).
4. We Long for Guidance
I used to be scared to speak up on certain things because it seems as though it doesn’t matter how biblical your worldview is anymore. It only matters how well you conform to the traditions of the elders. But I am not scared anymore and niether are my fellow millenials. One day, not to fsr from now, we will be the ones leading the charge in the church and in society. We know we face some real threats to our religous freedoms. But we’re honestly more concerned with the threats we face from within the church. Not without.
We want to do a better job than our predecessors have and we say that with all humility. Not as insult to your failures. You should want the same thing for us. What parent doesn’t want their children to learn from their mistakes so that the child doesn’t make the same ones? But this doesn’t really seem to be the encouraging attitude we’re met with.
Our landscape, both within the church and without, will be drastically different in two decades. And what we millenials want is for the established church to partner with us and help guide us in wisdom and love. Our prayer is that we will be able to usher in this new Era without having to fight against the dying religion of our forefathers.
But if you will not we will persevere. Our God has called us and He is equipping us and our faith is in Him and Him alone. Stop treating us like we’re abandoning biblical foundations just because we’re abandoning the traditions and religious molds. We honestly just want more of God and to be the people He has called us to be without making the same mistakes the church has in the past. We don’t feel like that is too much to ask.
We are grateful for all the men and women of God who have stepped up to the challenge of leading us into the future God has for us instead of trying to keep us shackled to the past. We need your wisdom, experience and love and we are grateful for those of you who give it.
– Joseph Sterling