What Millennials don’t want from the church

The most frustrating part of being a Millennial is that my church does not understand me.

By Rachel Sloan

Life as a Millennial is hard. My iPhone is over a year old and does not have Siri. The Internet at my apartment is pretty slow. My Apple laptop is HUGE and does not have retina display. My iPad doesn’t have enough free space for the new Coldplay album.

But the most frustrating part of being a Millennial is that my church does not understand me.

Churches often think in this vein: 1) We need more young people in the church. 2) How do we get more young people in the church? 3) We need a room in the church where we can install flashy lights and smoke machines. 4) We need to find a praise band.

If we build it they will come, right? Maybe not.

Despite our love for technology and social media, churches cannot simply slap a contemporary service together, create a Facebook page and call it quits, and then blame us when we do not show up.

Millennials (despite the terrible things you are told to believe about us) want real authentic, worship and real, authentic churches. We want churches that want to have a relationship with us.

We do not want churches to immediately advertise to us how great their contemporary service is, how amazing their young adult Sunday school class is, how sizable their group of young adults is, as if to say: “Of course we want you here! Just stay in your niche where we cannot see you and have fun over there while the rest of us run the church and make the big decisions.”

We do not want you to immediately shove us off to a part of the church where we will never be seen or heard from again. If churches want Millennials to walk through their doors and stay there, they need to learn how to fully incorporate us and our ideas.

Whatever your church does well, there is a faction of Millennials that wants to be a part of it. Is your church passionate about social justice, worship or ministry to the local community? Do that, focus on that and Millennials may end up at your church.

Then let us help you do that. We do not only want to attend church on Sunday morning. Many of us care and want to be involved in a church, we just have not found ones that will let us in.

We are not going to a church that does not care about our ideas and we are not going to a church that is not willing to fully embrace us. Would you?

OPINION: Views expressed in Baptist News Global columns and commentaries are solely those of the authors.