The landscape of society is changing in front of us. With economic trouble, political shifts, the way in which we process our lives (from left brain to right brain), our society, our world, has been deconstructed, and now in the fragility of what remains, it is my belief that my generation has been left to reconstruct it. In the midst of this great human shift, the Church has also been rattled with the questions of what to do, and what is next. I think that you will see Millennial Churches will have several core values: Integration, Substance, Ecumenical, Space for the journey, and Ethical.
A few weeks I posted some thoughts on research that the Barna group did on science and the Church. When we look at why Christians are leaving the Church because of science, it is not because there aren’t answers out there, it’s because my generation believes that the Church isn’t integrating these answers into conversations, answers, and solutions. Some people are leaving the Church because they can’t stomach how Christianity could deny, what appears to them to be very clear answers about the functioning of the world. As well, others are leaving the Church because they’re tired or apathetic from the constant arguments. Regardless of where young Christians might stand, the Church is not attractive in it’s dealings with science. The days are leaving when we can have subjective answers and unhealthy discourse. My generation would rather be relevant, and integrative, rather than apathetic or compromising.
At the same time, my generation desires tradition. I see more and more people who are wanting to be devoted to a spiritual tradition. While my generation desires to be relevant, they also desired to be rooted. More and more people are devoting themselves to spiritual traditions than have in the past. You see people stepping away from their old traditions and into ones they feel have richer histories. They step away from modern spiritual practices and find ancient spiritual practices that they feel help them connect to God in a much more intimate way.
This generation is desiring not only a way to be more relevant but also more traditional. They want both extremes. They’re searching for God in a close, intimate way, but they don’t want to dismiss scientific data (or be divided by it). The Church of this generation will have to learn how to face this new way of thinking and living head-on if they’re going to be a welcoming space for this generation.