12 Faults Millennials Have Against the Church
Who Are Millennials?
Society is resting in the hands of its current generation of young adults. Therefore, studies have been conducted on their behavior, needs, and desires. That includes finding out what they think about today's churches.
Millennials are the current generation of young adults who were born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s. They have certain characteristics, including the following ones:
- Tech savvy and tech-dependent
- Career advancement in their chosen field
- Wants instant gratification
- Wants to be treated with equality
- Interested in what is real and relevant
Statistics show a staggering number of 22-35-year-olds have left the church. They have shared their reasons for leaving. Records show only 2 in 10 millennials believe attending a church is still worthwhile even though they used to think that it was.
About 59 percent of millennials have left the church. About 35 percent of them believe the church is doing them more harm than good. If church leaders would take notice, they will notice that millennials belong to the most unrepresented group who attend church services.
After surveying millennials, there are at least 12 reasons they give for not attending church.
1. Church Not Focusing on Their Needs
Millennials believe churches are moving on without involving them. They have begun to believe that they do not matter in the church. They want to have a voice but are not permitted to have one. They do not feel they are a part of an institution that they cannot help to shape.
Young adults have noticed there are no outlets for them to be involved in. They are not part of forums, surveys, or church meetings. They are not invited to serve on leadership teams, advisory boards, and other committees where they could make a difference.
Most churches don't have a young adult pastor who could connect with millennials by speaking their language and by knowing about their particular needs.
2. More Than Mission Statements
Millennials want more than mission statements that churches are living up to. They want more than talk. They want a ministry in action.
Young adults have expressed they want churches to stop wasting their time on repeating what the mission of their local church is. If all churches had the same mission statement, the world would be a better place.
Millennials say they are tired of hearing the same old religious talk about goals, visions of one church when all churches should be the same. Young adults indicate they are more impressed with actions and service than with what's written on a piece of paper.
3. Failing to Help the Poor
Millennials have a problem with the church spending hours and hours doing things IN the church but not spending hours doing things OUT of the church to help the least of people.
Church leaders focus on the people within their own congregations and fail to focus on the community.
The younger generation believes the church and the community should connect for shared interests. They believe God will show up when this happens.
4. Tired of the Culture Being Blamed
Church leaders would rather talk about how terrible the world is than on doing something about it.
The younger generation wants leaders of the church to put an end to blaming the world and make a real impact in the community. They want more action than just talk.
5. More Compassion
Millennials have compared the church to the 2004 classic Mean Girls. In the film, the most popular girl in school forgets to wear pink on a Wednesday which is considered a cardinal sin. Gretchen Weiners screams, “You can't sit with us!"
The church plays high school games, and some people are tired of games.
Until the church finds a way to be kinder and more compassionate than the mean girls in high school, millennials are staying away.
The younger generation is one of positive action instead of idle chatter. They want to see more people connecting than being blamed.
6. Distrust of the Church
More than any other generation, millennials don’t trust the church. They believe the church is not being a good steward of its resources.
Millennials believe the church doesn't trust them to do the right thing, and at the same time, the younger generation doesn't trust the church to do what it claims to do. The church doesn't think through the important things. Instead, it spends time and money making sure programs and events fill the calendar instead of focus on the needs of millennials.
7. Preached At Instead of Being Mentored
Good preaching is at its lowest point in history. That's ironic because there are hundreds of podcasts and YouTube videos showing how it could be done. Parents and grandparents didn't have those resources.
Millennials crave mentorship more than being preached at. They want to know that they are being cared about instead of being told what they are doing wrong. They want church leaders to be invested in them. They want to look up to older people and for them to be good examples for them.
8. Not Feeling Valued
Churches tend to overlook the millennials who do show up. They have a reputation of not being reliable, so the church put that label on all of them. The church needs to see young adults with great aspirations and visions who want to do good in the community and in the church. They want the church to value them and treat them with respect.
9. Issues Not Addressed
People in their 20’s and 30’s are making the biggest decisions of their entire lives, and they want answers and advance concerning their career, education, relationships, marriage, sex, finances, children, purpose, chemicals, and body image.
The church is not addressing these issues, and millennials are feeling left out. They are learning more from the world than from their own church.
10. Not Known in Neighborhood
The church is barely known in its own neighborhood. The leaders of the church don't reach out to the people living next door. That don't go door to door and invite them to worship services and special events.
When college students move into the neighborhood, the church should be the one to invite them. The church should make their presence known in the neighborhood.
11. Being Talked About
Young adults feel that they are being talked about within the church. They believe they have been stereotyped. They think this is unfair.
12.Churches Are Not Reaching Millennials
The churches just aren’t reaching millennials. That's why they are becoming anti-church. They think church leaders are not interested in them and don't care about their spiritual well being.
Leaders should know that millennials actually matter and should be treated as an integral part of the church.
What Millennials Want from the Church
The list above is about the faults millennials have of the church. So, what do they want?
- to be involved in the church
- to be treated fairly and equally
- sincere worship and fellowship
- to follow leaders with integrity