There is a pretty common discussion going on around the fellowship hall tables at mainline protestant churches around the country. The church is dying! Our numbers keep going down! Young people aren’t going to church like they used to! Every year there are more and more stories about churches closing or consolidating into multi-point parishes. Every year it seems like there is another report about the end of the church as we know it.
Almost as frequently, the fingers seem to point at young people and their seeming lack of appreciation for church. But I don’t think that’s right. I’m a millennial, and I can tell you that the spirit isn’t dead inside my generation. I think what’s wrong is that my generation has grown up in a church that was too preoccupied with numbers to go out and actually minister.
Stop worrying about the church, people, and just BE the church!
Seriously. Stop with the nonstop fundraisers about such and such church repair. Stop fussing about the declining attendance. Stop with the sermons about asking for more money or more church participation. That’s not going help encourage young people to keep going to church and it’s certainly not going to make them feel going about organized religion. Don’t let young people grow up thinking church means Sunday worship and a conference table once a month surrounded by old people arguing about money with nothing in between.
Millennials aren’t done with God, we’re just done with congregations who think church is just Sunday worship and potlucks. Thanks to the internet, we’re a generation who is thinking more globally minded than ever before, and we want a church that reflects that. We want to feel like we are in community with our neighbors both down the street and across the ocean. We want to worship with a church that recognizes the church doesn’t end at the building’s front door.
Most importantly, we want a church that leads through action, not words. It’s not enough to say a church cares about those who are suffering. The church has to actually do something about it, something more than just pray about it on Sunday. We’re sick of churches that are too worried about themselves to see that there is another congregation down the street of people without jobs or homes, but that’s all a lot of millennials see, so prove them wrong!.
Just concentrate on the business Jesus told us to concentrate on: feeding the poor, healing the sick, caring for the weary, etc. Concentrate on evangelism through public servanthood. Concentrate on those things and the church will take care of itself.
 I can’t take credit for this. This lovely quote comes from my beloved professor Dr. Cameron Howard at Luther Seminary. Also her colleague, Dr. David Fredrickson.