This statement from a post by Aaron Earls jolted me last week:
Why aren’t Millennials at your church? You don’t want them there.
Honestly, our faith communities want many things:
- “To grow”
- “To attract young families”
- “To serve”
- “To make a difference”
But we don’t want to do what it will take for those things to happen.
I often ask engaged couples, “What are you willing to do to keep your marriage healthy and alive?” It’s a better question to ask before marriage because it’s easier to secure a commitment before the wedding than after.
- Are you willing to go to counseling with your spouse?
- Are you willing to leave your job for her/him?
- Are you willing to live a distance from your family?
- Are you willing to stop _____ for the sake of your relationship?
Sometimes we don’t want to do these kinds of things.
Churches: what are you honestly willing to do to grow/welcome “young people”/serve your community?
- Are you willing to relinquish norms that turn people off?
- Are you willing to fling open the doors to people who don’t look like/act like you?
- Are you willing to give up some of the things you like most about your church?
- Are you willing to be uncomfortable for the sake of someone else’s comfort?
If the answer is “no” then you actually don’t want to do what you say you want to do.
It’s healthier to acknowledge this truth and continue to decline than it is to say – falsely -that you want to grow and then blame it on the pastor/denomination when growth doesn’t happen. The real story is that you just don’t want to.
Image is Man with Folded Arms by Roy Lichtenstein (1962)