Open Letter To Millennial Christians

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3 mins read

You know those pieces that start off “Dear So-and-So, We Need to Talk”.  This isn’t one of those.  It’s not one of those, because those are almost always nicely packaged lies.  This is very different.  This is probably going to be uncomfortable.   I’m not offering any pretty packages, but I am offering you the truth.   And let’s face it, you have been lied to so much the Truth should be a refreshing change for once.
You need the Church.
Oh, I know.  You think you don’t.  You have lots of reasons to be just so over church…  or… well… you think you do.   The problem is you have all of these strong opinions about church, but they are built on lies and misconceptions.  You’re really mad at church because Church doesn’t live up to the false standards and insane expectations of it that exist only in your own heads.  It’s rather like hating a fish because the fish can’t ride a bicycle.  Fishes swim.  They are great at swimming.  They were never meant to ride bicycles.  That may sound odd, but it’s exactly the way you are judging church.   See, you’ve been told that Church is supposed to be the glorious utopian community where everyone loves each other and treats each other with respect.  You’ve been told that you go to church to feel loved and to feel God’s love and to grow and learn and be spiritually fed.  You’ve been told that the Church does all of these good deeds.
Ask a 5-year-old girl about love and she will start telling you about a Disney movie because that’s what her concept of love is.
Your concept of Church and what it is … is just like that 5-year-old’s concept of love.  It’s idealized and fantastic and utterly wrong.
You see the Church as flawed.  You see it messing up.  You see people arguing with each other.  To you this is a sign that the Church is hypocritical and therefore broken.   In reality this is just the fact that the church is made up of people, and people are all flawed.  In other words, Church is just like everything else in the world.  It is broken because people are broken.
But there is a bigger issue.  You’ve been taught that Church is something you go to for yourself.    It isn’t.  Being involved with, and in, a Church is a sacrificial act.  We sacrifice our time and our money.  We support the Church through sacrifices of time, presence, prayer, and our gifts.  That’s actually a formal vow of membership in some denominations.
We don’t go to church because it’s fun.   We don’t go to be with our friends.
We go because Christianity is not an individualistic religion.  It’s a collective religion.  Oh, it’s personal.  It’s definitely personal.  But more than that, it is relational.
There are many gifts of the Spirit that are specifically delivered through the Church.   Assurance is a great example of one.  One of the ways we know we’re on the right path, or we know what God is nudging us toward, is the confirmation we get from other Christians in our church who see the same thing.   Out on your own, disconnected, you don’t get that.
Like it or not, God works to change the world through the Church.  Not through mere individuals.  The Church is a massive force multiplier. And if you want to really do something that matters,  you need the Church.   The local church is the hope of the world.  And you have abandoned it.  It’s like complaining that your favorite team is playing bad, when a huge chunk of its players are not on the field or even on the bench.
You have gifts and talents.  You have something to contribute.  But you are sitting on the sidelines.  You’re off doing your own thing while your team, your family, needs you.
You say you want a career that matters.  You want to make a difference.   Well, that’s not what careers are for.  Careers are what puts food on the table.  Did you know that Saint Paul had a career?  He wasn’t a professional apostle.  They didn’t have those back then.   He was a tent maker.   No one remembers Paul for making great tents.  He didn’t change the world through his career.   Most devout Christians don’t even know he had one.  He changed the world through the Church.
Get out your Bibles and read the book of Galatians.   It should sound familiar to you.  Because Paul is writing to that Church about the same things we struggle with today.  The problems of today aren’t new.  We’ve been dealing with these same problems for millennia.
So now what?
Come to the church.  Find a church that needs you.  Find a church near your home where you can connect and sink some roots.  Find a church that has a you shaped hole in it.  I promise they are out there.   You may think that your gifts don’t fit in with typical “Christian” expectations, but trust me, we will be dealing with that lie as well.
You do need the Church.  But more importantly than that, the Church needs you.  Stop demanding that the Church change to fit your Disney expectations, and get into the fight.   Yes, it’s ugly and uncomfortable.  That’s the real world.  Time to grow up and join it.  It’s time to stop saying you want to make a difference.  It is time to get off your ass and start making one.

19 Comments

  1. Many seem to think that church is about what YOU get out of it, and it’s not easy to get anything out of church. I’ve done enough study that a normal sermon bores me. But I am a Christian, and I am called to worship and fellowship with the body. I also believe in serving. I have vital technical skills that a small church like mine needs. I run the computer and backup the sound board guy. I also do what I can to encourage the other members of the church, and the pastor when I’m able.
    One sermon a few weeks ago left me bored out of my mind. But as I looked around the room, I saw people who genuinely seemed excited by it. One woman was recording the entire sermon on her iPhone. I sometimes have to remind myself that it is not about me; it is about the Lord.
    I agree with the author. Of course, the church is flawed, because it is about flawed people worshipping a perfect God. Get there. Find a place to serve, because it is not about you. But you need it.

    • In some ways, it is about what you get out of it. But, the thing is, what you get out of it is a function of what you put into it. If you put nothing in, you will get nothing out.

  2. I wish I could plaster this in the front page of every coffee-shop rag of the eastern seaboard. There are so many idiots out here searching with blind-folds on that it beggars belief.

  3. I just want to point that no where in this blog is the name of Jesus Christ mentioned. And that’s not a good thing at all. After all, any attempt to recruit people to the church will ultimately fail if Jesus Christ is not at the crux of the attempt.
    As a millennial who actually goes to church regularly, I assure you that the first and foremost reason why I go to church is to meet with Jesus. Everything else is secondary.

    • I just want to point out that you are referring to this one particular post, not the entire site.
      Oh, and I am glad you go to Church and strive to know Jesus.

    • Well child… Let me be the first to tell you… Jesus meets you wherever it is you are. You don’t need to go to church to meet Jesus.

      • My brother…
        He does meet us wherever we are, and praise God for that. But, to love Jesus means that we must strive to meet Him and to go to Him, no matter what. So, we must make sure we meet Him! Remember the Prodigal Son, after all. We are all Prodigal Sons and God is waiting for us to come to Him and cling to Him. Just like we, as parents, wait for our children to come to us out of love, God does the same for us. He is Father… we are His children. I know that, for many things that don’t require an immediate response, I will wait and let my children come to me and confide in me their worries, though I already know their worries from afar since I know them deeply, and only then will I offer to help. As a mother, I want them to know that they can come to me whenever, even when they fail, but I will not impose myself if they do not want me.
        But when it comes to church attendance, it is deeper — much deeper. We are children of God, yes, and God will be there for us if we cling to Him. But through the Church, we have a much deeper bond with Him established in a deep covenant — just as marriage is a covenant, so is our relationship with God where He is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride. Just as I go to my husband and do my best to love and please him, I must go to my God through the Church and love and please God as a member of His Bride. That is the whole point of worship! If I neglect my husband, even though I am married with him and have been faithful to him for years, he will feel neglected and unloved and he will feel as if a great distance has come between us. If I neglect my God by abandoning His Church, His Bride… then there must be a profound sadness that God feels. After all, I have abandoned Him as His Bride.
        So, I do agree with you that the relationship with God is something that must occur daily. Absolutely. But, just as married spouses meet together intimately on a regular basis, so must the worship services of the Church have that intimate encounter with Jesus, as it is the Bride. And if the Church loses sight of this fact and forgets that it is the Bride and that its gatherings are geared to kiss the face of Jesus, then the Church is doomed to fail. Jesus must be the center of everything for the Church.

    • Church is not a place you go to on Sunday. Its what you do Monday through Saturday. The worship service on Sunday is just one small part of it.

  4. Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy, but only if you feel fulfilled and empowered by a modern welcoming Church experience? Heh.
    You make a good case. I wish it was possible to make the case: Do it because it’s your duty, you were commanded to do it, and the other face of love is obedience.
    Maybe someday if the MotW win.

  5. People like you are why i hate church. Your post is full of guilt trips and nothing about love for your god. You cannot guilt me into joining you. Thanks for giving me one more reason to avoid church, I get enough guilt trips from my mother. I don’t need yours.
    Oh, and as for being involved in the community, I volunteer regularly and I am part of a community garden and a food co-op.
    I live green, i don’t own a car, I bus or walk where i need to go; I try to do right by my planet and its people.
    I am part of the community, just not your community. My love of god is my own, it has nothing to do with you or your church full of judgemental jerks.
    Jesus would be disappointed in 99% of his subjects. Including you.
    Because not once in your rant about us needing church did you even consider mentioning love of Jesus. Nah, you laid on a big nasty high horse guilt trip.
    Congrats on keeping one more millenial as far away from your world as possible.

    • Tiffany,
      Two things:
      1. I thank God you will never, even by mistake be in any church I may wander into. You’ll probably burn in hell because of it of course, but I don’t care about that, I’m not one of them really good Christians.
      2. I hope Lector replies to you, because the flames of butthurt that would generate in you would allow for large consumption of popcorn for many weeks for most of starving Africa.

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