Talking about Millennials in Church is all the rage. Why aren’t Millennials going to church? How do we get Millennials in church? What is going through the minds of Millennials? What social media is best to reach Millennials? Etc. On and on and on it goes. Can we just take a moment to take a breath and stop.
Are Millennials important in church – yes, just like every other generation too. Or did we forget there are other generations attending church?
There’s the older population – you know the ones who show up regularly and have for decades. They have a crap load of wisdom and experience.
There’s the youngest population – the children and babies. They bring chaos (it can be seen as a good thing, especially if we remember that we are not in control). They also bring unconditional love – something we could learn from.
There’s the Baby Boomers – Of course we don’t forget about them. They were the last generation that everyone was salivating over. And they bring some great qualities too.
That should cover it right? No. Gen X, as usual, often gets the shaft and if a forgotten generation. Society couldn’t wait to move past this generation. Only problem is, Gen X doesn’t play by the rules. They learned that long ago – mostly because no one cared about them, so they went ahead anyway. And in many cases, it is Gen X who are in leadership positions within the church. They bring something unique to the table too – persistence in spite of criticism.
Each generation brings with it something unique and something we can all learn from. Each generation is made up of some incredible people – let’s not forget this. It’s very easy to lump people together. But what makes church work is people and their relationship with God and with each other and the community that surrounds them.
So, yes, be concerned with the Millennials – they are an interesting group. But remember, it’s not about numbers. It’s about people. This means, remember there are other people around. We might learn something from these people. And it’s really not all that helpful if we salivate, I mean coddle, I mean focus too much attention on one group of people.
Imagine if Jesus went around and only focused his attention on young Jews about his age. Do you think his message would have caught on? Or maybe, just maybe, his message was a bit broader than that.
The church certainly needs Millennials, but if we truly believe Jesus words, then the church will survive and thrive (maybe in a way we didn’t expect) regardless of what generation is living and how it interacts with the church. The church needs Jesus and his message. All are welcome – every generation – to come and see and experience the Good News. It’s not just one generation. And that is surely good news!