Few Millenials interested in religion, study finds….

From The Christian Post:

Millenials, those born between 1980 and 2000, are not anti-Christian or anti-religion, but they are, in general, just not interested in religion, says a new book based on a survey of members of this generation.

An apathetic attitude toward religious and spiritual matters is common among members of this generation, according to The Millennials by Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Research, and his son Jess, a Millenial born in 1985. Members of this generation are likely to care less about spiritual matters than those from previous generations, the Rainers wrote.

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of this generation rarely or never attend religious services, according to the survey conducted by LifeWay on 1,200 Millenials. And spiritual matters was ranked sixth, below friends and education, in a list based on an open-ended question on what is important to respondents…..

But this is the statement that got my attention:

Rainer suggested that the church has become less effective in reaching the Millenials because members of this group tend to be a high commitment generation and they see most of what takes place in churches as low commitment so they are not interested. Another possible reason is that three-fourths of these Millennials come from an unchurched background, meaning they have no Christian faith background.

“They are not anti-religious or anti-Christian, but they tend to be totally ambivalent towards anything religious or Christian,” he said.

The survey also found that Millennials are “a confused generation spiritually.” Although, 65 percent of this generation describe themselves as Christian – notably many of them do not know or practice the basic teachings of the faith….

I also thought this was interesting:

The Rainers state that most Millennials see churches as “business as usual” and inward focused, which turns them off. The members of this generation are looking for radical churches that are dedicated to living the life of the disciples in the first century.

“Millennials don’t ask what the community can do for the church; they ask what they can do for the community,” the authors stress. “Millennial Christians are seeking to move as close to New Testament Christianity as possible.”

In other findings, Millennials are not as environmentally driven as previously thought; they have a surprisingly close relationship with their parents; they respect older people; and they consider family the most important thing in their life.

This is just as relevant to us in the UK church as it is in the USA.

Any thoughts?

Read the full article here.

Rethinking evangelism

Frank Viola posted an interesting and challenging article about missional evangelism not so long back:

With few exceptions, every traditional church I’ve ever been a part of emphasized evangelism to be God’s grand goal. And every believer was divinely obligated to share the gospel with lost souls.

As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, this sentiment is fairly recent, harkening back to the teachings of D.L. Moody. Moody, who was a gifted evangelist, had his paradigm circulate through mainstream evangelicalism through Bible colleges all across America. (Moody Bible Institute was among the very first). His paradigm is now in the drinking water of modern-day evangelicalism.

A number of my friends on the missional church scene continue to work from D.L.  Moody’s paradigm despite that it’s been publicly refuted scores of times.

Last year, I was flipping through the TV channels and came across a very well-known pastor telling his congregation about the desperate need for them to evangelize. He went on and on, warning them that if they didn’t tell others about Jesus and bring them into the church, the building they were all sitting in would be converted into a furniture store. He told stories about this happening with other churches he knew of. He then went on to tell them that his ministry as pastor is to teach the sheep and motivate them to go out and bring others into the sheepfold. The saving of lost souls was their complete responsibility. If the church failed in this and the building was lost, it was their fault.

With every word, the guilt and condemnation piled higher upon the heads of God’s people in that audience. I felt sickened. Yet they took it like good Christians, and I suspect that it wasn’t the first time…..

Read the full article here.

I have deliberately linked to this article a few weeks after it was posted – mainly because I wanted to see how the comments developed.  They are definately worth the read – so make sure you get through them as well as the article itself.

Piper on evangelism and social justice

From Lausanne, John Piper being interviewed by Pastor Steve Chong (of Kirkplace Presbyterian Church in Syndey, Australia, and director of the Rice Movement):

I think Piper’s passionate comment about the relationship of evangelism to social justice at the beginning of the video is brilliant!

HT: Justin Taylor

Have we lost confidence in the gospel?

The_christian_post

From an article in the Christian Post:

It may tempting to think the church can win converts if it has the right strapline or soundbite, but the most effective way remains telling people about Jesus Christ, said a British theologian.

Speaking at this year’s Keswick Convention in Cumbria, Derek Tidball said the church often wanted to “keep the Gospel back” and “hook people by other messages first”.

“Judging by the way the church in England behaves, we don’t have confidence in the Gospel,” he said.

Tidball, the former principal of the London School of Theology, argued that the simple teaching of the Gospel and “the unpacking of the unsearchable riches of Christ” were still the most persuasive ways to bring people to a genuine point of conversion and discipleship.

“I have been, over the years, to many conferences on evangelism that have reduced evangelism to marketing and suggested that, if we only get the right language, the right strapline, the right soundbite, the right techniques – if only we can tap enough into the culture, then of course it will be obvious, everyone will see the truth of the Gospel and come to believe,” he said. “But it doesn’t work like that. We are not selling cars or soap powder. We are engaged in a spiritual battle.”

He called upon Christians to reconsider their priorities and live a life of serving and showing mercy to others.

“I sometimes think that the church is not particularly known for its mercy. It is known for its judgmentalism, its tut-tutting, its objecting to this, that or the other. But the God in whom we believe is one who is merciful,” he said.

Read the full article here.