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Keep church “uncool”

Keep church “uncool”

A response to the articles on making church “cool” to attract new members. Brett McCracken in the Washington Post says: “How to keep Millennials in the church? Let’s keep church un-cool.”

I’m a Millennial, but I am weary of everyone caring so much about why Millennials do this or don’t do that. I’m sorry Millennials, but I’m going to have to throw us under the bus here: we do not have everything figured out. And if we expect older generations and well-established institutions to morph to fit our every fickle desire, we do so at our peril.

But I also think that the answer is decidedly not to sit the Millennial down and have him or her dictate exactly what they think the church should be. But this is what Evans suggests. Her article ends with this proposed action step:

“I would encourage church leaders eager to win Millennials back to sit down and really talk with them about what they’re looking for and what they would like to contribute to a faith community.”

How about the opposite? Millennials: why don’t we take our pastors, parents, and older Christian brothers and sisters out to coffee and listen to them? Perhaps instead of perpetuating our sense of entitlement and Twitter/blog/Instagram-fueled obsession with hearing ourselves speak, we could just shut up for a minute and listen to the wisdom of those who have gone before?


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Paul Powers

Bill Carroll, it’s my impression that the author of the “condescending paragraph” is himself a millennial. You’re right though, out of a boomer’s it would be insufferable, especially since our generation’s mantra used to be “never trust anyone over 30.”

S. MacFarland

The original Washington Post article goes beyond mere admonishments to Millenials, delivering a more serious message to the church.

Relevant quotes:

“We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.”

“Rather, what I need is something bigger than me, older than me, bound by a truth that transcends me and a story that will outlast me; basically, something that doesn’t change to fit me and my whims, but changes me to be the Christ-like person I was created to be.”

The deep and sometimes difficult message of the Gospels speaks to that for which we as humans hunger on a level far deeper and more persistent than catchy trends and fads. Hopefully, the church will try to deliver that message accurately and clearly, emphasizing its relevance to every stage of life and then living it out with deliberate care in policy, action, and interaction. This, I believe, would not only draw people into the church, but make them want to stay, as well.

S. MacFarland – please sign your full name when you comment. Thanks

Bill Carroll

I don’t think I’ve ever met a Millennial who wasn’t honestly ready to engage elders who didn’t take the rude and condescending tone present in the final paragraph. I’m sure they exist, but I haven’t met any. Bigger point: the tone wouldn’t help even if Millennial atttitudes were the problem.

Cynthia Hallas

Mary Morrison, I think you nailed it.


Perhaps it’s time to spend less time worrying about what category people may fit into, and spend more time building relationship with the people God brings us and with those to whom God sends us. Isn’t that what most people really want — relationship with God and God’s people?

Mary Morrison

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