Millennials: Nones, but not done.

The study is out – the Christian storm in the media roars on.

Motivational Believe graffiti message on the street.

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.

iStock_000044051156_SmallIn 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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2 Responses to “Millennials: Nones, but not done.”

  1. Kylie May 20, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    Great thoughts Andy! I agree. Within Love146, we have 5 people on our team who were born in 1991! I know so many people in my generation who have traveled and lived abroad while most of my parent’s friends have never left the U.S. There is a lot passion and a lot of awareness within the millennial generation. But I do see a gap with when it comes to action at times. For example, most young adults would say that they care about the issue of human trafficking, but in reality, they are probably wearing goods made by underpaid workers who work in slave-like conditions. I think the biggest challenge for my generation is not only be mission minded but to live a missional life. Don’t just care about the issue, don’t just post about it on Facebook (that’s too easy, anyone can do that), but implement that passion to your daily life. Live below your means, give generously, use your career to reflect the things you care about, be wise in the things you consume. I think we have a good foundation to change to the world but need to go deeper and live sacrificially. I know way too many people who have seen poverty firsthand, but continue to live the American dream. I’m ready for us to move beyond caring and into action, real, tangible, life-changing action. Anyway that’s my two cents as millennial!

    • May 20, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

      Kylie you would know! I think what you say about the missional life is so strong – and the call to live ever more sacrificially is a message every generation needs to hear. We should have coffee soon!

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