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85 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    The link to the winners of the church architecture award was interesting.

    Since the subject of church architecture has been raised, I have a question for MLD. When traveling, I try to guess the denomination of churches by their architecture before I read the sign out front. I can always spot a Lutheran church of a certain vintage because of the extremely modern, often bizarre architecture. Can you explain why so many Lutheran churches have/had adopted this extremely modern style? Was that just a phase or what? Maybe they aren’t LCMS? (My sister’s LCMS is one of the loveliest churches I’ve seen, by the way, but it’s about 100 years old.)

  2. ( |o )====::: says:

    “Contemporary worship is pornographic” O_o

  3. EricL says:

    G @2, that link to “Contemporary Worship Starving the Church” should probably have a warning on it and maybe an R rating, though it comes from Patheos. It really pushes the envelope on hatred for contemporary worship. (For the record- I strongly disagree with the author.)

    Well, at least it gives us something to discuss (as long as no kids are present)

  4. John 20:29 says:

    comments 2 & 3 got my attention – say what?

    “If we’re not careful, we can easily find ourselves addicted to the over-stimulation “worship” experience, and deadened to the actual presence of God around us.” from the link

    that would have been sufficient to make the point, but i do remember having a conversation with someone of my children’s generation… he observed that after he’d come to know Christ, he found much of Christian worship not too different than the rock concerts he used to attend – just a different focus… good or bad, i don’t know…
    but not enough content to build one’s life on, so one does need more instruction in the Faith IMHO

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – about the architecture I couldn’t tell you without seeing what you are seeing. The interior of the sanctary in most Lutheran churches is an upside down boat.

  6. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – you may want to listen to these 2 programs of (1) Church architecture and (2) Church furnishings the altar, the pulpit and the font.

  7. Xenia says:

    MLD, I think the upside-down boat, representing the ark of salvation, is a beautiful idea.

  8. CostcoCal says:

    No contemporary Christian worship?

    Does the rumor that Luther borrowed from tavern tunes for his worship have any merit? I just read that it doesn’t.

  9. Babylon's Dread says:

    No article about millennials and their judgments against the church? How will we survive another week without their marketing advice?

    No church on Sunday? Yep that is what we did. Last time it was on Christmas Day our crowd was down 90% as the people voted in droves to stay home. I do miss traditional churches and their fiber over such things.

    No more Oden? That is a sad report. I love his kind.

    Pretty soon we will find a way to have Christianity without Jesus at all. Wait that is already here too.

    I love linkathon it gives me so much to hate.

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Does the rumor that Luther borrowed from tavern tunes for his worship have any merit? I just read that it doesn’t.”

    Is that one still going around Calvary Chapel? They confuse Bar Notes / Bar music with taverns. LOL 🙂 It’s a musical form.

  11. Xenia says:

    Orthodox Christmas is on a Saturday this year (Jan. 7) but we are still having Church on December 25, which is the day we remember St. Herman of Alaska. People often go the a parish in the Bay Area named after St. Herman on the 25th but I always have a houseful of non-Orthodox relatives who need attention so we stay in town. So this year on the 25th, which is not Christmas for us but still a feast day, being as every Sunday is a feast day, we’ll be going to church. The non-Orthodox kids will be here opening present and eating scrambled eggs that morning and I will try to get away to liturgy (5 minutes away by car) for an hour at least. On the 7th of January it’s Nativity Liturgy and open house at Father G’s.

  12. CostcoCal says:

    Awesome! Confusing bar notes and taverns…:)

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I wish my church was considerate enough to give Jesus the day off to spend with his family (the Father & the Holy Spirit).

    But we still have him come to us in body & blood.

  14. Steve Wright says:

    No article about millennials and their judgments against the church? How will we survive another week without their marketing advice?
    Dread provided me a much needed laugh…

  15. CostcoCal says:

    MLD. I still grin at how much heat Jon Courson took for his stance on the Eucharist some time ago. As the years go by, it seems that more and more Evangelicals are seeing the light on the matter. From my perspective, anyway.

  16. Michael says:

    I forgot to add my millennial article…it’s actually excellent.

  17. CostcoCal says:

    Hi Michael. The funny thing about the article, to me, were the responses. Tons of this type of response, “I so agree with what you state. You are right on. Have you considered a church like ours?”

    Overall, the article was insightful.

  18. Steve Wright says:

    I saw that article floating around last week. I agree, there is much to chew on and I hope in many of those areas our church would be attractive. I also could not help but ponder the number 12.

    So Jesus turned the world upside down with 12 men, but there are 12 things that His bride needs to fix before a modern American millennial will darken the doors of its worship house?

    What I wondered is, what if you can get 10 of the 12 things you desire. Good enough? How about only half of the dozen?

    Is the 12 the entire list, or is it open to new amendments as the mood hits and something happens the millennial does not like (as they head for the door).

    One example – some of the things on the list spoke of money for the poor and financial transparency etc. So if you find a church doing those things, does that mean not only can it count on your attendance but your sacrificial giving to a tune of 10% or so (gross) like your ancestors routinely have? Or do we just have to make you feel good about how we spend the money of other people who do give?

    I could go on…and I think I am pretty charitable and open on the subject but at some point, when one says “Have it your way” Burger King would not serve me my whopper without a bun and so I went home…

    Well, maybe the humbling message of the cross, surrender, others, love, humility….might not be getting through.

    Does anyone know if the millennials in China, India, throughout the Middle East and Africa, have these same 12 reasons before they will worship their Savior in community as has been the case for almost 2000 years….or is it an American thing….

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Why do people think that millennials are any different than generations before them? I think we treat them like babies and they are growing up as such. My generation of boomers from the 60s were just a disinterested in everything as the boomers- “don’t trust anyone over 30” etc.

    The only thing that kept us from going down the toilet or extending such idiocy was the draft – that kept you on your toes. I think if we had a draft for these little punks, they would shape up.

    Oh. let me add — in Jesus name 😉

  20. CostcoCal says:

    Don’t you guys know that Generation X is the one that has it all together?

  21. Xenia says:

    I think it is us Baby Boomers who have caused the most mischief. The following generations are trying to make sense of the mess we made.

  22. Steve Wright says:

    MLD….for 2017 we discussed giving all high school graduates under the age of 30 a worship participation sticker each Sunday. They can trade four of these in for a participation ribbon, and then trade 12 ribbons for a commemorative 2017 annual participation trophy. We’re trying for the Chuck E Cheese meets Starbucks rewards middle ground here.

    Then it was noted that it was not fair to require 12 ribbons for the trophy since one could only miss about 10% of the Sundays during the year. And that really the trophy should be handed out at the end of the year to everyone who got a sticker during the year.

    Well, to afford all those trophies we would have to raid our feeding the homeless budget, which would just drive all the millennials away again, so I guess it is back to the drawing board.

    Maybe we can think of something before 2018. 😉

  23. Michael says:

    I find these reactions puzzling to say the least.

    Every survey taken shows the church is hemorrhaging people and that this generation either doesn’t care or is opposed in some way to the church.

    Whenever I post possible explanations for this we get the chorus of “it’s not my fault” and some derogatory comments about this particular group.

    I know some of these kids…and they’re not lazy or entitled, they have some real issues with what we do and don’t do.

    I’m listening…because they deserve to be heard.

  24. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael this generation isn’t just opposed tot he church – they are opposed to all things they consider institutional.
    I told the story before how Angie’s List – and now I see others had to change their business plan because millennials would not join and would not pay.

    As soon as we say, preaching the gospel is not enough to get people saved then we will by into any of Wesley and Finney’s magic methods to get people saved.

    Is God wringing his hands over these people? If you run into a millenial, give them the message of salvation – put a pebble in their shoe. Like everyone else they will come around.

    Look, the biggest problem the church has is youth groups – we have never hung on to that generation.

  25. Steve Wright says:

    So Michael, in listening, what have you changed at your church to attract millennials to start attending?

    I did say that I read the article, and find much of the offering to be thought provoking. But my questions stand. At some point are these self-justified pious excuses or are they legit issues that if corrected, would bring them on board fully..time, money, service…the whole enchilada.

    At what point does one profess to be a bondservant for Jesus Christ and then actually act like one?

    I have never been in a church that I would not want to fix something…including the CC I pastor! This issue is a close cousin to the ODM “show me the perfect church and I will attend” discussion.

    I watch the news too, and the millennial generation has a lot of misguided and unrealistic thinking in secular areas too…maybe their expectations need a little dampening.

    Or maybe, to echo MLD just a little, they need a time when they are kicked to the gut by life a little. I know I sure did not care about Christ in my 20s until it happened to me….

  26. Steve Wright says:

    I’m not sure #12 is really a suggestion but more like a wrap-up, but I would say it is safe to say that of the other 11, our church would get middle to high marks in each category. We definitely would not have a zero in anything and on a couple we would rate a ten.

    Of course, it’s easy to say “Hire a young adults pastor” when you don’t have the slightest clue the cost or commitment or legal ramifications (plus having to let a paid staff member go for lack of funds is far worse than hiring one is good).

    And I am a little hesitant to think that someone is not worshipping on Sundays because the church does not have a “mentor” program for young adults. Frankly, I think it would be nice for older adults to be faithful to their own children and families and commitments before worrying about taking the guy who is 27 and living with mom and dad under his wing on Saturday afternoons…

    And if a millennial is giving “thousands of dollars” to the church each year, then you bet, feel free to see how every penny is spent. I’m on record for years here on transparency in all areas of ministry. Let’s not confuse that with spiritual voyeurism though…

  27. Michael says:


    If I had anything resembling a traditional church and facility I would have already implemented much of what I hear…because I didn’t like it before they didn’t like it.

    As to being kicked in the gut by life…the assumption is that they haven’t been.
    I’ve heard far differently…

  28. Xenia says:

    #6 MLD, thank you I will give it a listen.

  29. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is what I don’t get – the writer of the article says that he is in a church meeting – talking about the state of the church – and then the very first thing on his bitch list is “Nobody’s Listening to Us.”

    Well wait a minute – the church provided the time and the space for him to be heard – what am I missing. It’s not like the millennials are the youth group that no one listens to – these are adults.

    But here is the kicker – he takes note that none of his peers are there. Why didn’t he communicate with his millennial peers about the importance of the meeting so they as a group can be heard? Could it be that the group does not even listen to themselves – don’t even care enough to better their own lot?

    Again, this is not a youth group – they are adults who need to at least take some responsibility for their church life.

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    And one more thing (my wife always says that to me) – why do they want the church to change? If they are so single minded about it being done right, why don’t they begin opening their own churches, set it up on the 12 points listed and show us how it is done.

    Show us how their doors are being blown off and the surrounding community is singing their praises – I would be all for singing their praises if the did.

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    and one more thing 😉
    The closing comment “Decide if millennials actually matter to you and let us know. In the meantime, we’ll be over here in our sweatpants listening to podcasts, serving the poor ”

    It’s a lie. I look at those working in the shelters, the soup kitchens, working in the missions etc – they ain’t the millennials. . Hey just for giggles tonight go out for a test – go out shopping and see who the Salvation Army bell ringers are – they ain’t the millennials.


  32. Steve Wright says:

    Well…I just finished teaching a semester to a full class of mostly all millennials.

    They wrote me 10 different devotional assignments throughout the term, for my eyes only. And almost all of them poured their hearts out about something in their past lives. Some very heavy stuff.

    That was not necessarily the assignment, but that is what they felt like sharing – knowing that only I, a pastor (and not a student TA) would be reading them.

    And having found Jesus Christ on the other side of that pain, they were in class to learn more of Him and His service. Not all millennials are the same.

    (I found Christ when I first found pain too.)

  33. Steve Wright says:

    Staging an Occupy Wall St. sit-in….while looking at your iPhone instead of looking for a job…might be considered “serving the poor” in an upside/down sort of world…right? 😉

  34. Michael says:

    “Staging an Occupy Wall St. sit-in….while looking at your iPhone instead of looking for a job…might be considered “serving the poor” in an upside/down sort of world…right? ?”

    I can’t even begin to write how offensive that is to me…time for a break.

  35. Xenia says:

    I thought the Millennial article was pretty awful. Most of the 12 points were variations on the theme “Look at me! Look at me!”

    These are the people who grew up in schools where their parents crooned “Good job!” for every little thing they did and their teachers gave them a sticker for every little thing they did.

    Read restaurant reviews on Yelp. This group will give a perfectly decent restaurant a one-star review because the server didn’t smile at them or congratulate them for just showing up. (You can tell they are Millennials because they always have a selfie as an avatar.)

    The Millennials I know are hard workers, though. They worked hard in college and they work hard at their jobs. They are just so terribly in need of strokes.

    It’s better to treat everyone as an individual, I think. Some church jobs are better for young people and some jobs are better for old people.

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The selfie – that should be the logo for this generation.

    I remember the meme that had Neil Armstrong on one side and said “went to the moon and took 3 pictures.”
    The other side has the girl (can I say girl still without worrying about a lawsuit?) – this girl and the caption reads – went to the bathroom and took 37 pictures.

    Ya gotta love it.

  37. Xenia says:

    And I blame us Baby Boomers again for this. We over indulged our kids.

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    My kids are great fully functioning adults. But I wasn’t afraid to kick them in the butt — literally.
    But millennials are younger than my kids. What is the age range for millennials? 30??

  39. Steve Wright says:

    We have real live homeless people in their natural habitat and the opportunity through our church to feed them in Jesus’ Name throughout the week.

    I am with MLD, when I was (ahem) “discussing” with the city the value of the church being allowed to continue to take care of this part of our population, I went to a few city council meetings and not one person who spoke up was anywhere close to a millennial in age.

  40. ( |o )====::: says:

    I find Millennials, my children, their friends and families, willing to live out their spirituality with joy and spontaneity, willing to self fund for those in need in their neighborhood, their work, their communities which are not so narrowly defined by a gathering under a brand. Plus their willingness and openness to spirituality is refreshing. They have a freedom that many of us are only now discovering as we see Jesus active and moving outside the walls of out traditions

    They don’t worry about forms of liturgy, they’re willing to innovate, borrow, adopt and adapt.
    It’s “Design Thinking” alive and well.

    I hold only enthusiasm and optimism for this generation and the presence of God which continues to motivate without branding.

  41. ( |o )====::: says:

    Thanks, yeah. How about you don’t use such a thing for Linkathon in the future?

  42. Michael says:

    I am the only one responsible for content on this feature.

  43. ( |o )====::: says:

    Love ya

  44. CostcoCal says:

    I tell my kiddos that I’m already bracing myself for their Christianity to be different than mine. I tell them to do their old man one favor, though, and that is never to let go of the Death AND Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  45. Dan from Georgia says:

    Can I say this? Can I just say this?? Can I just throw this out there please without getting flames??!?!….

    Anyone else tired of Millennials being…what am I trying to say here…the most important group in the history of church outreach…millennials say this…millennials need that…let’s cow tow to millennials because they are hip…happening.. and we know they are the ONLY future of the church and what they say is more important than anything else ever spoken ever…

    In all serious now, why are millennials the be-all end-all of church, particularly evangelical churches? Why is it that especially Ev. Christians and churches seem to be falling over themselves in trying to court millennials? What is so so SO important about millennials? Does the church (mistakenly) think that they have all the money? Is it because they are so cool and the church wants to utilize their coolness to make itself look cool? Is it the selfies?

    Done venting. Thanks!

  46. CostcoCal says:

    Dan. Well, it worked for Chuck on those hippies. Right? He and Kay (and not necessarily in that order) really had a heart for that generation.

  47. Dan from Georgia says:

    I know millennials have some great things to offer and say, and no group should be elevated above another in the church. I do realize I engaged in quite a bit of hyperbole with my previous message. I am a middle-aged white male (some probably think I voted for Trump in saying that…), and its too my fault that I am not connected to other people.

    Anyways, I wrote my diatribe before reading comment #40, and I appreciate your comment!

  48. Xenia says:

    MLD, I listened to the links, thanks again.

    The basics for why church architecture and furnishings should comply with the function of a church, which is deliver the Word of God and God the Word, is the same for your church and mine. We differ on the execution, in some areas, of course. I was interested to learn that you folks also anchor your altars to the earth, if possible, rather than sitting it on the floor.

    Like you, we believe that Heaven is participating in the Liturgy along with us and Orthodox church art often reflects this. The domes that you often see on Greek and Russian churches are often painted on the inside w/ angels and stars, illustrating that we are in heaven. I noticed that like us, you also keep the choir more or less out of sight. (We don’t have to worry about where to put the drum set as we do not use musical instruments in the Liturgy.) He even spoke against screens, which is my biggest pet peeve against modern church furnishings. We aren’t much for pulpits. When it’s time for the priest to preach an altar boy usually drags a lectern over to the front for him to use.

    I think the odd-looking modernistic Lutheran churches I have seen in cities all over the country must belong to congregations that are not adhering to Lutheran ideals in architecture and probably other areas as well. Probably those ELCA people….

    As Dostoyevsky said, Beauty will save the world.

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – it would be interesting if I could see what you see. My church from the outside looks pretty modern – and perhaps on the inside. At the same time I think it hits all the marks of what they were discussing as far as the chancel area along with the nave. We have the proper placement of the pulpit, lectern, altar and font. We have art – stained glass windows around the sanctuary at eye level so you can see them.

    I don’t think we want to look like a dungeon. 😉

  50. CostcoCal says:

    Dan. Regardless of my previous remark, I completely get where you are coming from. I’m getting to be an “old dude” myself.

  51. EricL says:

    Maybe the reason that the Millennial generation so bugs the Baby Boomers is because the two group are so alike. 🙂

    Pity poor Generation X (40s to early 50s) stuck between these two behemoths. After decades enduring the shade of the Boomers, they now have the Millennials trying to overshadow them. While Boomers and Millennials fight over the starring role, the Xers just shake their heads.

  52. Xenia says:

    MLD, I found some photos but I don’t really want to post them because for all I know,the folks who worship there might be the best Christians on the planet.

    I would say I am sorry I brought the whole subject up except it caused you to post those great links, which I enjoyed very much.

  53. David H says:

    It’s all just generational. Our forbearers thought we were lost causes, and so it goes. Ain’t it amazing that those generations that follow us manage to make despite the fact that they seem generally incompetent, lazy, have poor manners, and in general are lucky that breathing is involuntary. Ever the optimist, I believe that they’ll find their ways, much like most of us did.

    I have a crazy feeling that this next generation of folks are going to do some great things. They don’t see things the way we see them, their different approaches and ideas will be profound, especially after the mess we’ve created in our society.

    On another note that article on worship music could have been written by Terry Watkins, and his ilk.

  54. CostcoCal says:


    “One generation shall proclaim Your works to another” Psalm 145:4.

    Somehow. Someway. In every generation. Even if I don’t fit in or see it.

  55. Dan from Georgia says:

    CostcoCal (#50)…thanks…I wasn’t in a good frame of mind during my rant, and I get that way sometimes. Maybe I am a bit jealous in that I have never really felt wanted in church – was a single adult male until I married in my early 40s – hence I was considered a “threat” to women and children – ok, victim mentality over with…there I go again.

    Anyways, I think innovative thinking and direction in the church (i.e., “stirring the pot”) shouldn’t necessarily have to come from the young crowd. Everyone has a place in the church and every believer has a role.

  56. CostcoCal says:

    Dan. You’d be surprised how even “well known” people in a church can feel the exact same way when it comes to “not fitting” in. For one reason or another, not really finding one’s place yet still going to church. As you’d probably agree, in the O.T., when the worshiper came to offer the sacrifice and worship the Lord, it really wasn’t about the social atmosphere they experienced. By that, I mean, it wasn’t the priority in terms of whether they went or not. And maybe back in the day, your going to church even when you didn’t “fit it” might be of the same kind of worship to God.

  57. Steve Wright says:

    I gave a post up there about a bunch of millennials I just worked with for the last few months…Reason for great optimism. (crickets)

    Like someone else said (Xenia?) – everyone is an individual.

    Bottom line I guess is that I think we have a fulltime job ministering to who is there, than fretting about who is not there (and has never been there). God draws His sheep and while I do not want to be a hindrance to what God is doing (and why I do read articles like the one under discussion) if God is bringing millennials, great, then let’s minister. If not, let’s minister to who is there.

    If they need some life seasoning, which used to happen in this country earlier in life, then so be it. God has a way of calling us.

  58. Michael says:


    I’ll tell you why i’m concerned about the generational issue in the church.
    I spend most of my time with young people…two godsons I’ve helped raise, one 14, one 26.
    I’ve always tried to make it my business to know who their friends are.
    I spend lots of time at the skateparks in the area.
    Somewhere in the last decade or so the world changed.
    When I was a kid everyone had at least a nominal understanding of Christianity.
    The vast majority of the kids I know and the young adults I’ve worked with have not even a nominal understanding of the faith and more and more of them have real hostility to what they think they do know.
    Contrary to the snark spat at them in other posts, some of these people are among the hardest workers I know.
    Studies are pretty clear…this group has a totally different perception of the faith and of the church than any group before them.
    Should this remain the case after our generation passes, the Christian witness will be greatly diminished.
    Lastly…I love these people. I love the fact that they see all the bullspit we take for granted for what it is.
    I love their desire to do and not just hear.
    That’s why they matter to me…not more than others,but just as much.

  59. Anon says:

    I’d imagine that one reason the millennials are getting so much attention is that 25-35% of them are unchurched. That’s strongly differrent from previous generations.

  60. Xenia says:

    The vast majority of the kids I know and the young adults I’ve worked with have not even a nominal understanding of the faith and more and more of them have real hostility to what they think they do know.<<<

    This is entirely true.

    When I was taking a class on Late Antiquity at the local university (UCSC) a few years ago, the teacher, an EO Christian from Greece, was frustrated because the students were have such a hard time interpreting the stories on church mosaics. She asked for a show of hands: Who knows who Noah was? Who knows who Abraham was? Who knows who St. Peter was? Most of these kids didn't know any of it. She told them they needed to get a Bible and start reading…. Probably the only class at that university where a prof could get away with saying that.

    I also spend a lot of time with Millennials since most of my kids and their spouses fall into that category, more or less. Three hipsters, a red neck and an anomaly. Only two attend church. All we can do is show them the love of Christ and hope their baptisms kick in.

  61. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Michael for your input. I regret my rant as it was short-sighted and unthoughtful. Sometimes I feel so out-of-touch with what’s going on out there. I really admire your concern for them and honestly think its really great you spend time where they are.

  62. Michael says:

    Thank you, Xenia.

    I’ll add one more thing.
    No generation in history has been subjected to the onslaught of utterly demonic filth in music and film that this group has.
    The combination of technology with moral and ethical obscenity and the lack of parental structures has these kids starting from a very bad place.
    I’m done now.

  63. Steve Wright says:

    The gears just shifted I think. I thought the focus was all the millennials leaving the church once they age. Those who know quite well the tenets of the faith, being raised in it. I didn’t see in the article under discussion a focus on the lost but on how a church attracts and keeps millennials

    We know why the lost, of whatever age, don’t come to Jesus…don’t we?

    They are two very different questions and concerns.

  64. Michael says:


    I know you are a very good and decent man and you deserved a reasoned response.
    We’re glad you’re here.

  65. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael #64…thank you very much. Honestly, I have some things to think about right now. And I am glad I am here too on your blog!

  66. CostcoCal says:

    From my perspective, there is a portion of Millennials that love God. Just in a different way than we who are older than them.

  67. I’m with Steve. I thought the concern was the exodus.
    Also, I think the handwringing shows a low esteem towards the Holy Spirit.

    But how many here were active church people in their late teens and through their twenties? Even my wife who was raised in the church and went every Sunday didn’t go between 18 and 30.

  68. CostcoCal says:

    Low esteem for the Holy Spirit? Well, seeing that the Holy Spirit is not the center of attention when He is truly the center, that might not be a bad thing.

  69. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, I know my posts were from that angle, as is the article. I think reading them makes that clear. There is a world of difference between a lost young adult from a broken home who has no clue about anything of the faith, and the person critiquing all the problems with church as reasons they will not attend.

    That article makes zero sense if looked at from the POV of the lost. Nor do my posts.

  70. Costco, my point is those who are not convinced that the Holy Spirit will work with millennial will turn to methods instead of the word.

  71. Michael says:

    I was addressing something I see as a combination of the two issues.

    We’re not getting them into church and when we do, we’re not keeping them.

    So far the reasons given for this are that they are lazy,entitled, liberals.
    I think that’s a crock of crap and at that point there is no further need for discussion.

    I respect the writer of the article has having valid concerns as I’ve heard them in one variation or another from real, live, people.

    Your mileage may vary and I could honestly care less if it does.

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You need to look at a longer view of church demographics. Back in the 80s I was the youth director at a Baptist church for 3 or 4 years (I had the boat so I was the logical choice). You can’t imagine how difficult it was to keep youth after they hit 17 – not just difficult but near impossible. What once was a large Baptist ministry College and Careers for young adults dwindled to nothing. That age group has no interest in church.

    But on the other side, and I still see this today at my church – almost all new families that we welcomed into membership – back then as Baptists and today as Lutherans, were overwhelmingly people who gave up church at the younger age and are now drawn back in their mid 30s early 40s with a family of kids in tow.

    I had no religious background other than secular Judaism – I had no one witnessing to me – but when I was 32, I had a family and the wife said “we need to take the kids to church” – this is how the Holy Spirit works.

  73. Michael says:


    If you read the research your scenario was the norm for a long time.
    It’s not anymore and that is a major area of concern.
    Things are different now…

  74. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    No, you can’t say that because you cannot predict that in the future in the next 10 yrs they will not return to church as a family and hardened by life.
    I said that I see this every couple of months when I make a presentation to our new members class – these are people who left the church 20 yrs ago to pursue life, that did not include church and they are now returning.

    How is your research coming up with what will be 15 to 20 yrs from now?

  75. Costco Cal says:

    MLD. What you stated about kids taking a break from their church until they start having kids is so very true in the Dutch Reformed.

  76. bob1 says:

    I have 2 kids in their 20s.

    From talking with them and their friends, they’re turned off by the welding of conservative politics and Xnity. They have no room for racism or treating LGBTQs in a discriminatory manner.

    Pretty sure there’s research data that confirms this.

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob1, there are plenty of Christian churches that don’t hold to those views. Many who are LGBTQ and race affirming, who are totally anti conservative politics.
    The ELCA, the PCUSA, the Episcopal Church, the United Methodists, and many others – why don’t they join one of those?

  78. bob1 says:

    Actually, progressive churches are growing, esp. since Trump.

    While this article isn’t just about millennials, it probably holds for them, too. I doubt they’ll be going to go to a gay-shaming church anytime soon.

  79. Steve Wright says:

    you cannot predict that in the future in the next 10 yrs they will not return to church as a family and hardened by life.
    MLD..thanks to the wonders of social media and enough time at the same pastorate I am seeing some of these youth that grew up in the church and now in their 20s. For example, I see out of wedlock births and I think, well, praise the Lord, He may not have been enough in their lives to avoid fornication but He was enough to avoid the world’s way of dealing with an unplanned pregnancy – so that is a great thing and God has a plan for that (those) lives.

    I see the gushing over some young stud who was NOT raised in any church, who is “the greatest guy in the whole world (even if he won’t put a ring on it) and surely is going to be the greatest dad in the whole world” and I pray that he will be. I also know if he is, he will defy all known statistics we see today.

    But like you said, I expect to see all or some of this family on their knees at some point in the next decade, and back in God’s house – and if it is our place, we will welcome them with open arms.

    Now, I’ll let others debate whether walking away from church and community leads to fornication with unbelievers a few years later….or whether the desire was there all along and as soon as they were out from the parents’ control, they were out the door of the church too. I’m sure each person and situation would need to be seen uniquely.

    If someone writes a 12 step plan for how to keep the millennials you preach to on Sunday from fornicating on Saturday night, I will gladly read it.

    I will say this though…there is a direct cause and effect, not always but more often than not, with the baby boomer or Gen X parents and their living their faith 24/7 when it comes to the adult children and their walk with the Lord when out of the house. Both positively and negatively.

  80. Babylon's Dread says:

    I revisit the page and find …

    12 un-aged whines of the millennials

    I would rather they just join the 12 apostles and 12 tribes in kingdom increase.

  81. j2theperson says:

    I wonder how much of a role the fact that people marry later in life and do not necessarily have strong family connections while they are single–either due to things like divorce or simply because they have moved far away from their family to pursue educations and careers.

    When I read this list of 12 things the church should be doing, it strikes me that a lot of them spring from emotional needs that would normally be met by a stable family unit. They don’t feel like they’re being listened too, they want to be mentored, they feel church is cliquey, they want the church to value them, they want to talk about serious issues. These are all seem to spring from legitimate emotional needs related to growing up and transitioning to adult-hood, but those needs should be met by parents and grandparents and close friends.

    I’m not sure I buy the idea that Millennials particularly care about the poor in any sort of substantive way. I certainly haven’t witnessed the Millennials I know doing much for the poor. But, regardless, the desire to be doing something meaningful for other people makes sense to me. A generation or two ago, people of that age would be married and focused on raising children at this point in their life. But nowadays they aren’t marrying in great numbers and are putting off having children so there’s a huge void in their lives that would most naturally be filled by carrying for children, but since they don’t have families they look to “helping the poor” to fill their need to meaningfully impact the lives of others.

  82. Linnea says:

    Forgive me for not posting “within the discussion”. I work full time and am away from home 12 hours a day.

    Thank you, Eric (and Michael) for posting the link about “seeing” the women in the Bible.

    I think male pastors just simply identify with historical people like themselves. Maybe they’re not sure about what to do with the testimony of a woman’s contribution to gospels.

    I will say this…it’s important to do some “perspective taking” as a pastor. For instance, it’s good to ask, “What would this passage look like for an immigrant? What is this passage saying about this woman? Is there a word here for people not just like me?”

    Perhaps people of certain generations eschew church because they don’t see themselves in scripture as represented by the pastor. Perhaps they see church as not acknowledging the struggles they face as believers. Perhaps they live most of their lives in the harsh world, and church never acknowledges or addresses the struggles they face.

    These are good things to think about when a pastor exposits on a passage. He needs to understand how others view those verses. He needs to seek out those perspectives.

    That’s my 2 cents this evening 🙂

  83. Michael says:


    That was worth a lot more than that…well said.

  84. Linnea says:

    Thank you, Michael…

  85. Steve Wright says:

    Linnea’s post is gold.
    J2’s is excellent as well…..

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