The study is out – the Christian storm in the media roars on.
This week the Pew Center for Research published a study about Americans and the faith they practice. Alarmingly to many, the number of young people identifying themselves as ‘none’ when asked about religion spiked upward. Interestingly, the number calling themselves ‘atheist’ or ‘agnostic’ did not spike. The next generation, it seems, is backing away from a Christian label, but not laying claim to another one either.
I am not panicked.
One of the benefits of traveling in missions is the chance to see Jesus at work in other places. In India, Haiti, Costa Rica, and last weekend Guatemala, I can tell you Jesus is fine. God is good as is the church. North American Christians are having a bit of a crisis, but Christianity continues to have a bright future.
It does in America too, because of the millennials.
The millennials I know are the most mission minded generation I have seen. Having grown up with the internet they have seen the world ever since their eyes opened. The rising generation can communicate with anyone, anywhere – yet a frustration is within them because the world is still a screen away. This frustration of seeing but not be able to touch has sparked a drive to move through the screen and change the world.
Millennials are also organizers. Through social media and armed with a 501-C3 they can mobilize quickly, and what they are learning is they can change the world faster and better than the church. In the millennial world, one person does change the world, and rather than go through a slow, bureaucratic institution millennials are taking what they believe and putting it into action on their own.
In the end, they will revolutionize the church. Personally, I am not alarmed by the rise of the ‘nones’. The nones disaffection with Christianity is based more in church than Jesus, and in their mission drive they will discover in the love God and neighbor teachings of Jesus what
a friend they have in Him.
For now, God is good. Jesus is changing the world, and the Holy Spirit is moving. God is at work today and will be tomorrow. For those of us in North American Christianity trends are changing, but even with the rise of ‘nones’ Christianity is far from done.
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