Millennials and the Church

Millennials and the Church

Over the past year I have seen many articles on Millennials leaving the church and why. All these articles pretty much say the same thing, that evangelical churches now-a-days are too exclusive, too un-accepting of the LBGTQ community, don’t give enough to the poor,are too political, etc etc. So I just thought I’d address some issues in their arguments, from a Millennial evangelical’s perspective:

1. Churches don’t focus enough on the poor

Christ didn’t die for a building. He died for people. And when he created his ‘church’, he didn’t build some elaborate building with a massive cross and stained glass windows. He charged his people with a creed to love others, spread the Gospel, and follow Him. He also commands us to give to the poor (Luke 12:33). If you want your church to focus more on the poor, than start volunteering with the poor. Give to the poor. Bring some friends along. Make it fun. Just do something. We millennials are the most connected generation there has ever been, we have so many resources at our finger tips. The Church is what you make it. If there isn’t a ministry that focuses on your interest, use your resources and creativity and make it.

2. Too political.

Yes, the crazy people you see on TV are crazy (and they exist on both sides of the political spectrum) but those are the minority. Regardless of what party you side on, if a church can’t or won’t take a stand on a political issue, I would be concerned about the leadership of the church. Yes, there are some issues which the church doesn’t necessarily need to make a statement on (i.e. Trayvon Martin, Obama’s birth certificate, etc.). However, the Bible clearly states some seriously political stuff and to say that Jesus and His disciples didn’t shake up the political sphere back in their day would be ignorant. In Mark 12:17, Christ tells the people to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. And in Romans 13, He commands us to respect governing authorities and to even pray for them. I totally understand not wanting to be a member of the Westboro Baptist Church and their hateful antics, but to think that the church should just sit and be quiet is taking things a little far. We Millennials love to be activists. To stand for something, which makes this complaint confusing to me. Why separate your spiritual life from your political life? Those two go hand in hand for a majority of the issues.

3.The LBGTQ (and questioning youth)

The Church has definitely dropped the ball on this issue but not in the way many people think. They have dropped the ball by sending a hateful message of eternal hell and damnation instead AND, on the other side of the spectrum, sending a message of acceptance and ‘love’. They have dropped the ball by being split. There is a big difference between tolerance and acceptance. To be ‘tolerant’ means to show willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. Tolerance is loving those who you don’t agree with or who don’t agree with you. Tolerance does not mean changing your doctrine to make others happy. God loves everyone. He created everyone. However, he did make some rules to help us live holy lives (as holy as we humans, who are prone to wander and sin, can ever be). And, as convenient as it would be to just pick and choose what we want to believe, Jesus doesn’t give us that option. The Bible is very clear on this matter. People may say it’s cultural irrelevant, however the LBGTQ community existed back then too and is arguably just as prevalent today as it was in Jesus’ Rome. And I get wanting to be supportive of this community. I have many loving and dear friends who are proud members of the LBGTQ community and I want them to live happy and fulfilling lives. I, however, cannot argue with Christ’s word. The Church needs to preach a message of tolerance while standing firm on Christian doctrine. A message of honest love. No sin is different than any other and no person any better than another. And in the end, sanctification is between you and God, no one else.

An Issue of the Heart

An Issue of the Heart

“Fewer guns means fewer murders” – Bloomberg

I do not condone violence in any shape or form, but I think it is ignorant to assume violence will stop if a weapon is banned. People determined to kill will kill by any means necessary. This isn’t a gun issue. It’s a heart issue. The problem lies in the current moral state of this country and if we don’t change the way we raise our children, these acts of evil will only get worse. We need to drastically change the morals and fundamentals we teach future generations. We don’t teach them to face the consequences of their actions. Instead, we teach them to disrespect authority by eliminating punishment and coddling them. We teach them that they can do whatever makes them happy even at the expense of others, which engenders a mentality of “I can do whatever I want. You can’t touch me”. We teach them to value wealth and status achieved through power, manipulation, and greed instead of teaching them the value of education, service to others, and temperance. We let them have it all and wonder why they can’t practice self-control. We encourage experimentation with sex, drugs, and alcohol at an early age and are surprised at the teen birth rate and the commonness of alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses. We teach our children easy fixes to their problems instead of showing them how to persevere through trials, watching in wonder as the abortion rate rises, graduation rates fall, and the number of divorces increase. Guns are not our problem. It is much deeper than that. A little band-aid of a gun control policy will just make the wound messier. We need to take a good look at ourselves and at this country. The United States isn’t the greatest country anymore. But it can be. This next generation has the choice to continue on a path of destruction or to make a change and, in my humble opinion that change starts with the church. We need a revival. We need to start walking the walk and no longer simply practicing what we preach, but LIVING it. No more hatred and legalism, but loving rebuke. We need to not compromise our beliefs but share them with other in love and with purpose. This world is not our home. As believers, we need to start living out our faith, and proving it. A faith without works is a dead faith (James 2:17). The world today is a scary place with evil around every corner. But we have hope. We have a God who loves us to the point of committing his son to die on a cross so that the evil among us and within us won’t separate us from eternity with Him. God will have His justice and Evil will not win.

 “For the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.” Proverbs 24:20 

“If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.” Ecclesiastes 5:8

A Hurting and Hopeful Heart

A Hurting and Hopeful Heart

My heart hurts for this country. Not because of the attacks on U.S. embassies around the world in the name of Islam, not for the crippled economy, and not for the disgraceful attempts at political campaigns (on both sides). No. My heart hurts for this country because we still think WE can fix it. We think that the solution to our problems is a new President or 4 more years of the current one. We think that more jobs will create more happiness and that bringing troops home will bring peace. We think that same-sex marriage will spread ‘love’ to all. We think that universal healthcare will eliminate sickness and give hope to the poor and needy. We think there is an easy fix to all our problems. These things we want, these ‘ideas’, are not intrinsically bad. Each side of the political spectrum is trying to make our country better, whether you agree with the issue or not. Noone is trying to bring our country to its knees. And as much as it pains me to watch us tear eachother apart, I feel that’s exactly what we need: to be brought to our knees. Our country doesn’t have an economic problem or a policy problem. We have a heart problem. We’ve believed for far too long that we deserve everything. We think that we deserve freedom, we deserve happiness, and we deserve comfort. But in our effort to secure these things for ourselves, we’ve become dependant on man instead of relying on God. We’ve become entitled, believing this country owes us something, that God owes us something. We believe that because we’ve been ‘good people’ that good things should and will happen to us. But God does not promise that life will be easy. In fact, for the life of a Christian, we’re told the exact opposite. We’re told life will be harder on us. (John 16:33, Matthew 5:11-12, 44; 10:23, 13:21; Mark 10:30; John 15:20,John 15:18-19). But with the knowledge of a harder life, we cannot lose our joy and our hope, which rests soundly in the power and love of Christ. Yes, our country has a heart issue, but if you are a Christian and you’re reading this, WE have the answer: Christ. This world is merely temporary but we know the key to eternal life. This mess engulfing our world today has already been foretold:

“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” – Matthew 24:6-8

These rumors of wars, economic turmoil, moral decay, and natural disasters are all part of a grander plan. The ‘end of the world’ may be tomorrow or 100 years from now but our instructions remain the same: Share His gospel, love others, and obey His law. Do these things and rest easy in the knowledge that He is coming. This world is not your home.

So don’t be discouraged by the mess you see on your television or hear on the radio. Vote faithfully, love unconditionally, and pray without ceasing. God knows what he is doing. No politician, earthquake, or war can change His mind or alter His plan.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21

“The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” – Proverbs 16:4

“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”” – Daniel 4:35

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:19