Welcome back to the Our Emptying Church interview series!
Tonight I’m honored to be sharing with you another interview with a Millennial. Because of the personal questions I’ve asked, I’m keeping all the interviewees anonymous. This interview comes from a 25 year old social worker who has dedicated her life to helping at risk children. She spends her days working tirelessly to help children who have been neglected and/or abused. Her heart is my heart and it’s a total joy to know her. I hope you’ll appreciate her vulnerability in this interview as much as I did.
–Did you grow up regularly attending a church?
–Are you currently actively attending a church?
–What is your motivation for attending/ not attending?
Let’s be honest, it’s lack of motivation. I’m just lazy. My work week is hectic, when Sunday rolls around, I just want to sleep. And I know there are evening services, but I can’t even make myself go to those. So, if I’m honest with myself, it’s laziness. And, to be more honest, if church was a priority, I would get there. But, if you look at my life, apparently, it’s not a priority.
–If you have one, tell me about your church experience (the good, bad, and neutral).
The church I went to growing up felt like a family… probably because my entire family went there. After college, I just felt like I needed to go out on my own, find a church that didn’t know me as that kid they’ve known since I was born and singing in church musicals. After that, I found a hard time finding a place I “fit”. I’m pretty blunt, and some places could not handle it. With my job, I see a lot of tough stuff, experience some of the worst things life can throw at a person, and when I started asking hard questions and having doubts, the churches I went to could not handle it. So, I’ve seen good and bad.
–What is the purpose of the church?
I think it has a lot of purposes. I think it should be a community for people, a support system to everyone. It should be the example of how Jesus loved the earth, through our actions. That means serving people, praising God, and holding each other up.
–Feel pressure to attend church?
Oh yes. My family asks me all the time if I’ve found a church. It’s a big deal that I’m not going right now. I know it’s terrible, but I’ve started lying and just saying that I’m going.
–In 1-3 sentences, how do you perceive Christians? (i.e. loving, generous, anti-gay, fundamentalists, too political, etc.)
Some are wonderful, good people who up hold the vision God had of the church. Some are struggling, just like the rest of us, to figure things out. Some are selfish, greedy, and hateful people who misrepresent Christ in every fashion.
–In October 2012, a study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life revealed that thirty percent of Millennials (age 18-31) identify as having no religious affiliation. Does this surprise you?
A little. 30% seems like a huge percent to have no religious affiliation at all.
–Fifty years down the road, do you anticipate significant growth in the church or significant decline? Why?
I have no idea. I’m hopeful that the church will grow, which means I would actually have to get my butt out of bed and get to church…
–Anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your experience?
I’m a social worker who works with kids who have been abused and neglected. I think this work has made me more cynical and less… full of faith. I think that is part of why I have trouble going to the church and believing in someone as powerful and good as God. Just part of my story…
As always, I welcome graceful dialogue in the comment section. Can you identify with this woman’s story? What are some aspects of the church that keep you in it or keep you out of it?
This post is the eighth in a succession of the series Our Emptying Church. The purpose of this series is to explore why millions of Millennials are leaving the church. Check out these recent posts: Our Emptying Church, When Christianity Sometimes Looks UnChristian, Fake Smiles and Judging Eyes: OEC Interview with Millennial #1, Prioritizing Sin: OEC Interview #2, You’re Losing Us: OEC Interview #3, OEC Interview #4: One Last Chance, Our Beloved, Overly Political Church