A slew of articles in the Christian realm lately have been focusing on what is perceived as a major problem in churches–the flight of the youth. According to Christian leaders, “Millennials” (people in their late twenties to early thirties) have been leaving churches in droves, and any number of people and institutions receive the blame while atheists everywhere rejoice that reason and logic may at last have hit home.
Depending on who you ask, Christian parents and leaders may blame (in no particular order):
1. Public schools: Consisting of “other people” (see 6.), public school teachers and administrators have the same goals as colleges and universities (see 4.)–to corrupt Christian youth. All Christians should homeschool.
2. Christian Parents: They may have been Christian parents, but they were not tough enough, neither did they set a good enough example of Christian behavior. They weren’t radical enough, sold out enough, or on fire enough for Jesus, and now they will pay the penalty of their children becoming heathens.
3. Other Churches: Especially those that put too much emphasis on entertainment. According to some, encouragement, setting good examples for youth, and friendship should also be tossed.
4. Colleges & Universities: Made up of “other people” (see 6.) who corrupt youth with their teaching.
5. Youth themselves: Those rebellious, entertainment hogs are so disrespectful!
6. Other people: Homosexuals, feminists, atheists, pro-choicers, and other corrupt individuals who have one sole motive in life: to destroy Christian values and families.
7. The Government: The government is made up of mostly “other people” (see 6.) whose sole purpose in life is to take away our individual freedom and rights (while bringing down Christian values).
8. Obama: Because everything wrong in the world and our society ultimately stems from Obama.
When a Millennial reads that list, here is what they see: 1. Fear; 2. Elitism; 3. Elitism; 4. Fear; 5. Control; 6. Fear, Elitism, and Control; 7. Fear, Control; 8. Fear
Now whether there is some truth in those reasons is actually beside the point. I am positive those are not the Biblical fruits of the spirit, “but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). I am positive there is a Bible verse that declares “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). I guarantee that 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 defines love as patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, not rude, not selfish, not easily angered, doesn’t keep a record of wrongs, doesn’t delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Love, it says, “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always preserves. Love never fails…”
There is no room in these Scriptural definitions of love for fear, blame, elitism, or control. Churches teach that God is love, that we can trust Him, and put our hope in Him. Take a closer look at the first list in this article. Where is love? Where is God? Where is trust or hope in God?
That is why young people are leaving the church.