Millennials & Church
I noticed it kept coming up in most conversations I was having. I began to wonder if I had missed something. Suddenly, I felt such a burden in my heart to being to find out more of this “epidemic”.
Coffee cups, dinner dates, and simple hangs all included this interesting conversation about: what church was like growing up. I began to notice that some of the people my age had a sort of bitterness towards church growing up. Some had really hurtful experiences with pastors, leaders, or people in church. Some had experiences of their pastors being immoral. Some felt they were not useful and were overseen at church. I’ve had so many conversations that people felt like their church was really strict or they felt guilty all the time. Sometimes I would even hear a little bit of shame when they associated themselves with a church or organization. It’s like they didn’t want to be known for being a part of that community and instead would call it their “parents church”. (I’ve been guilty of this). The stories go on.
Let me stop and say that EVERYONE’S experience with the church and/or people at church is going to be different. I am also going to be very honest and say that I have had my fair share of heartache, disappointments, and really confusing relationships within the church.
I am not here to tell all of you that your way of thinking is wrong or that we’ve exaggerated our experiences. There’s no denying that these events have happened. What I have noticed is that in the midst of remembering our past, we must learn to honor what we’ve learned. Growing up there were very interesting mindsets and people made a LOT of mistakes. This doesn’t mean that THE CHURCH ( God’s Bride) is not a safe place. I think people, unfortunately sometimes might ruin the experience for some. It’s important to keep strong in our faith and be able to separate the two.
I noticed a while back, I began to disassociate myself with the churches I grew up in until I realized that it’s made me who I am now. I began to list out the things that I HAVE learned.
Here are some things I felt that I learned from church and my grandma :)
A Healthy Fear of God
How To Treat Others Kindly- how NOT to treat someone
How To Read the Bible/Devotion
How To Worship
How To Be Okay With Not Being in the “IN-Crowd”
How To Really Stand Up For Was Right
How to Pray/Intercede
What It Really Means to “not be of this world”
and so much more… and although it sounded like a list of rules and “how to’s” but they really set a solid foundation for me.
I recently did a poll and survey on Instagram and this is what YOU learned growing up in Church: MILLENNIALS & CHURCH POLL & SURVEY - It was amazing to see how much we’ve learned and how God has been a part of our lives since the beginning!
I felt that God put me in churches and people around me that helped me understand God in a deeper way. I really feel like because of them, I have a solid foundation. When I look back I don't look back feeling bad or sorry but rather proud that God allowed me to have many enriching experiences.
The main thought that keeps recurring in my head is: “Honor your past and look forward to the future”.
This thought came to me when I started feeling like the church/people began to implement things that felt like we wanted to reverse or undo our past. When I felt like our cheeks blushed when we spoke of the things we did at church.
Hear my heart, I don’t know how many mistakes our generation will make. I don’t know how many mistakes I’ve already done. I do know that God has called us to lead those behind us and that we are not always going to get it right. I really do believe that our “ancestors” tried their best and taught us what they knew to be true. They put their hearts into making sure we turned out alright. Guess what? Not all of us did, some of use still feel like pieces scattered everywhere, but some of us, if we keep pushing, can reach a place of peace and understanding. We can reach a place where we understand that they once felt God call their name and call them (like Moses) to do a task they may have not felt qualified for. Yet they went ahead of the people and lead (even with fear) but kept going and followed God’s voice.
I think we can be free when we can comfortably state our church background/past and look forward with confidence- Not trying to fix the past or erase it, or spend all our energy reversing it- but instead waiting for what God whispers for us to do next.
Exodus 4:10-12 (NIV)
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind?Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”