Ironically, the parents of the Millennials are the other largest group leaving the Church; although not for the same reasons. Most of them are just feeling like there isn’t any real point to going any more. The over-fifty crowd has heard it all a hundred times over.
Many long-time Christians feel the Sunday morning experience has not taught them anything new in years.
The pastor preaches a message on marriage, money, or morality and they silently score themselves from where they sit. If they can give themselves a passing grade they feel content with who they are and how they stack up against the rest of the congregation.
There is no call to action and no real conviction of their attitudes or behavior as long as they have a pretty good handle on their marriage and their money.
But who’s kidding whom?
They have little intimacy in their family relationships and even less with God.
They walk around with gaping wounds in their hearts that no one can see through their polished Christian facade.
They suffer from depression and addictions, and they have broken relationships with their kids, their co-workers, and their neighbors.
“We are so afraid to seek help inside the Church. We’re more likely to seek counseling outside the Church because we’re afraid of how we’ll be treated if people knew what we were struggling with…” Pastor Joshua Bondy, Greensboro Christian Church, Greensboro, NC
Twenty-five years ago, these Boomers made the decision to go to church because it felt like the right thing to do for their young children. Now that the kids are grown, they are struggling to find a meaningful reason to make the effort anymore.
The messages, Bible studies, small groups, and Sunday school materials are all written for new or young believers. After a while, it can be mind-numbing. It’s something akin to repeating the fourth grade every single year for the rest of your life.
Consequently, we are subliminally telling these long-time Christians they already know everything they need to know.
Unintended though it may be, we may be telling them that if they aren’t satisfied, then whatever it is they are craving won’t be found within the context of the contemporary church.
These devoted Christians are not abandoning their faith by any means; they are just seeking more meaningful ways of experiencing and expressing their faith.
They do not want a commitment that adds nothing to their lives. So, they hold fast to what they know…but they go.
Think for a moment about what the next decade will mean for the contemporary church.
At the current rate of loss of the Millennials and the Boomers, we’ll have a Church lacking in wisdom and experience and without a coming generation to train up as leaders. This is not a small problem.
In His love and service,