The Ministry of Losing Friends: A Millennial Tale – Unprofessional Christianity

The following is a post I had the opportunity to share with my friend Josh Williams and the folks at Unprofessional Christianity. Check out the site to find more about doing ministry outside the lines, and read this article in full.

millennial girl outdoor

The Millennial generation is known as the most transient of groups in today’s society. Many of us get the urge to travel, explore beyond the borders of our hometowns, perhaps attend university, and live in several cities before we’re 30. Why buy a house and settle down when there are people to see and things to do, mostly outside our own neighborhoods?

We’re also known for a (debatable) high turnover rate, flitting from job to job without making a substantial effort to grow roots in our career development. We’re encouraged to learn under mentors who’ve worked the same job for 40+ years, but we’re too eager to move on to something bigger and better. For some, that’s the only way they know how to move up the corporate ladder – by swinging to different ladders, instead of steadily climbing on the same one, year after year.

In churches, it’s no different. The rise of “nones,” those who identify with no religious belief in particular, have become the proverbial “missing link” in our church communities, as the religiously unaffiliated rates are sharpest among 18-29 year-olds. Research shows most of these Millennials opted out of the church experience after graduating from high school and moving off to college. Some suggest the church should just wait until these drifting young adults get married and have children, and thus become more likely to return to church because of the nostalgic and family-themed factors it affords.

Should the Church Give Up on Millennials?

What can be done to win them back into church community? What kind of ministry outside the lines do we need to reach them, help them see they’re welcome in our churches, and belong to the mission we’re working toward?

What if we reframed the question?

Why not see this apparent weakness as an opportunity for strengthening the Church at large?

What if we looked at the transience of young adults in modern society as a blessing rather than a curse?

Let me explain by telling a story.

Transient Millennials—Hazardous Trend or a Good One?

During college, I was involved in a church-plant on the campus of the University of Minnesota. When I first realized some of the friends I had gained through that church-planting team would be moving away for continued education and career opportunities, I was disheartened. Were they giving up on our church? Were they giving up on me?

I asked one of my friends who was moving away if he was sad to be leaving his community here, his friends. This is what he said, and it changed my perspective from the moment I heard it…

Read the full post, “The Ministry of Losing Friends: A Millennial Tale” on Unprofessional Christianity

Thanks for reading!

Learn more about relationships, ministry, and community. Sign up here for a free chapter from my upcoming book,The Variable Life: Finding Clarity and Confidence in a World of Choices.

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