Welcome back to the Our Emptying Church blog series! Tonight we hit our 10th Interview with a Millennial!
Because of the personal questions I’ve asked, I’m keeping all the interviewees anonymous. This interview comes from a 24 year old Administrative Assistant who has been a constant friend and support for many years. She is brilliantly intelligent and somehow is able to maintain optimism through almost any situation. I hope you benefit from her story as much as I did!
–Did you grow up regularly attending a church?
Yes I attended church regularly until around the age of 12 when my parents got divorced, and then only periodically the past 12 years.
–Are you currently actively attending a church? No
–What is your motivation for attending/ not attending?
Honestly, I think because I stopped attending at such a young age, church became an “uncomfortable” place for me. I was very shy as a teen, and avoided social gatherings. Also, I am a very independent person, and I was opposed to anyone telling me how to live my life. I did what I had to do, and nothing more. Church just always reminded me of how imperfect I was, and I wanted to avoid that if I could.
-If you have one, tell me about your church experience (the good, bad, and neutral).
I honestly don’t have many memories of church. I grew up going to a small Presbyterian church, but as a kid, church was boring. I would go to Sunday school and sing in the choir, but I never enjoyed it. It was just something that I felt like I had to do. I’ve had some fun experiences at various churches since then, but I never joined another church after I left the Presbyterian one. The Christian school I attended became my church. Chapel every Wednesday kept me accountable enough in my mind.
–Feel pressure to attend church?
Yes, but it’s internal. I used to feel outside pressure to attend, but not anymore. I don’t usually associate with people who try to pressure me to do anything.
–In 1-3 sentences, how do you perceive Christians? (i.e. loving, generous, anti-gay, fundamentalists, too political, etc.)
I perceive them as people who are, for the most part, trying to be Christ-like and loving. Unfortunately, yes most Christians, in my opinion, have become too political and unwilling to open their minds and hearts to new ideas, and therefore have alienated themselves unintentionally. Consequently, being “Christian”, I think, is slowly developing a negative connotation.
–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? No, not at all.
–Fifty years down the road, do you anticipate significant growth in the church or significant decline? Why?
I expect there to be significant decline. I think young people are becoming more tolerant and the church is not budging. If the church doesn’t keep up with the young people, it will decline, no question. And it doesn’t help that our society and government are doing everything they can to remove God from our lives. It’s only a matter of time for the church to lose its impact and significance.
Do you agree that it’s only a matter of time before the church loses its impact and significance? I welcome your comments below.
This post is the sixteenth 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, Heroes in Disguise: OEC Interview #5, Good Church Folk: OEC Interview #6, OEC Guest Post: Mark and Tammy Edwards, Spirituality v. Religion: OEC Interview #7, When John Speaks: OEC Guestpost #2, Our Emptying Yesteryear Church, OEC Interview #8: A Lost Generation, OEC Interview #9, A Cookie-Cutter Church
Thanks for the new interview, and congrats on this being the 10th! Your dedication impresses and inspires me!
“I don’t usually associate with people who try to pressure me to do anything.”
Oh, same here!
“And it doesn’t help that our society and government are doing everything they can to remove God from our lives.” I found this to be an interesting statement. The way it’s phrased echoes sentiments readily expressed in many Christian churches and through Christian media. It kind of paints everyone outside the church (government and society) as if they are in complete opposition — out to destroy what the church is trying to build — and I don’t think I’ve ever heard this kind of statement come from someone outside the church. Very interesting!
Thanks Abbie! I appreciate you reading and letting me know what resonated with you as a Millennial!
I understand where you are coming from regarding this Millennial’s comment about the removal of God from our lives. It’s definitely a differing perspective than one usually hears from Millennials outside the church. I wonder if she is speaking about God as a part of spirituality, which she thinks should be incorporated in government and society, and not God as a part of organized religion. I don’t know!