One of my favourite Christian bloggers, Rachel Held Evans, has recently turned her attention to some insights into the Millennial generation and their church attendance in the USA. She wrote a short blog on the topic for a CNN blog site, and sparked a very lively (if not useful) debate.
I was alerted to this issue a number of years ago by research from a variety of sources. The Barna Group and Walt Mueller’s Center for Parent/Youth Understanding have both been showing research about declining generational attendance at church for decades now. Mike Regele wrote about this in his book, “The Death of the Church” back in 1996 (buy on Amazon.com – still worth reading).
More recent research has emerged from Christian Smith’s National Study of Youth and Religion Project, and an excellent recent book is “unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity… and Why It Matters” by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons (buy on Amazon.com or Kindle @ Amazon.co.uk or Kalahari.com). Rachel also recently listed some of her research resources on this topic – see it here.
Anyway, after her experience on the CNN blog, Rachel revisited the topic with an excellent post entitled “Why Millennials Need the Church“.
She then provided links to a number of people who had written responses to her original article. If you’re interested in the issue, you will find them useful:
- A Reluctant Millennial on the State of the Church by Meghan Florian
- A Conversational Way Forward: Responding to the Exodus of Millennials From Our Churches by Christopher Smith
- Millennial Canaries by John Hawthorne
- Rachel and Brett, You’re Both Wrong by Jonathan Fitzgerald
- Why We Left the Church (assembled by Micah Murray)
- Trayvon Doesn’t Go to Your Church by Tyler Tully
- Millennials and Leaving Church: Really? by Scot McKnight
- Why are millennials leaving the church? Try Atheism by Hemant Mehta
Churches definitely need to be thinking about this. Gen Y are seeking for something to believe in, but much of what the church dishes up for them today leaves them cold. What do you think are the best ways churches can connect with Millennials?