Solving the Millennial Problem
By Mark Stacy
After the age of fifteen, nearly three out of every five millennial Christians disconnect from their Churches.
Studies show that more than 70% of young people leave Church during their freshman year of college, and 90% walk away from their faith during their sophomore year. If you are a pastor or youth worker of any kind, you know these numbers are very true. The souls of these young people are being lost at a record rate, but why? And how do we stop this exodus from happening?
Identifying the problem: Why are we losing so many young people?
The world today is a vastly different place than it was even sixty years ago. The introduction of the internet has given rise to what scholars are calling the “information age.” Anyone in the world with access to a computer is now only seconds away from seemingly limitless amounts of information on nearly any subject imaginable. At the click of a button, young people have easy access to ideas and theories that were unheard of not so long ago.
Sixty years ago a child’s primary educators were their parents and pastors; everything a child learned was filtered through the worldview of these sources. Fast-forward to 2017, and this is no longer the case. Bloggers and biased journalists have substituted parents and pastors and are now the sources providing all the answers to the many questions that young people innately have. Important questions such as, “What is the meaning of life?” and “Is the Bible really true?" are now being answered by so called “experts” whose antichrist agendas are steeped in paganism and postmodernism. The most troubling part is that, all too often, parents and pastors are not even aware that they have been replaced by quick Google searches and short YouTube clips.
Once a student gets to college, the affront on their faith intensifies. Immediately after arriving on campus, they are confronted with an exhausting onslaught of secular humanism, atheism, and many other worldviews. These attacks are on a much larger scale than those previously confronted in high schools and on the internet. Once students enter the classroom, they are battered by post-modern professors who often hate Christianity and seek to weaken the faith of every believer that is in their class. Without a real understanding of just how fatal this can be, parents and pastors often fail to prepare young people for what they will face at universities. It is no wonder that by the time that 90% of Christian students are near the end of their second year, they walk away from their faith.
Fixing the problem
We are losing our young people because we have allowed the internet and college professors to answer questions that should only be answered by spiritual leaders. Millennials have not been equipped to handle the onslaught they will face in their day to day lives. There are ways we can help save our young people:
1.Give them adequate answers to their questions.
There was a time when, “Because I said so," or “Because the Bible says so," were deemed acceptable answers to questions such as, “Why can’t I go there?” or “Why can’t I do that?” — this is no longer the case. If we do not provide well-reasoned answers to why we believe what we believe then someone else will answer those questions for us.
2.Prepare them for the assault on their faith.
One of the greatest oversights of the church today is the failure to prepare young people for the challenge of defending their faith against secular ideologies such as post-modernism. We must equip students with the answers they need to refute the attacks from popular culture on their faith in the Word of God.
3.Give them a hill to die on.
This is vital. Each generation yearns for a cause, something to live for, and if need be, die for. As leaders, we must inspire in the next generation a love for truth and a firm belief that the cause of Christ is worth giving up everything. Half-hearted Christianity with its powerless preaching and anointed-less singing is not something this generation will buy in to, nor should it; that version of Christianity will never save a soul. Millennials desire to be a part of something real, something that actually changes lives.
The key to solving the millennial problem is not new methods or a new message. Recent studies show that less than 9% of today's young people care about beautiful facilities, hip worship, or relevant preaching. In fact, when asked how much of a role these things played in their decision to stay in Church or to leave, the overwhelming reply was “little to none.” We do not need better lights or more fog machines. We do not need better preachers and singers.