The Real Reason Millennials Don’t Do Church

We’re looking for a truer Christianity. Rachel Held Evans

There are many unicorns in my life: those 20 and 30-somethings who are committed church people who consider spiritual community to be an important part of their lives. They regularly worship God. They spend part of their income to support various ministries.  They value connecting with neighbors in need. They have a hunger for spiritual awareness and growth.

I have many more friends in their 20s and 30s who don’t do church and it’s not because they don’t believe in God.  It’s not because they don’t value service to neighbors in need.  It’s not because they are stingy with their money or their time.  It’s not because they don’t ponder cosmic things.

It’s because even with all the good things about being part of a Church –

  • the connection to people of different ages and experiences,
  • the community
  • the opportunities to make a difference in the world

they are turned off/repelled/sickened by the not-so-good things about the Church –

  • the focus on regulations over relationships
  • the dysfunction
  • the lack of transparency/kindness/honesty

My own FBC, SBC, and TBC hear of things in Church World and say, “That’s why it’s so hard to be a part of it, Mom.”  That’s why it’s often hard for me to be a part of it too.

But I have hope.  I have hope that we can shift the culture to be more about relationships over structures, that we are working to become healthier, that we are becoming more transparent, kinder, more honest – especially with ourselves.

Calling all of us who are over 40:  we need to model a truer kind of Christianity. If we continue to fail to do this and be this, there will be no blessing of unicorns.


Note:  A herd of unicorns is called a “blessing.”

3 responses to “The Real Reason Millennials Don’t Do Church

  1. The theme of Week 3 at Chautauqua (July 9-15) was “A Crisis of Faith?” which focused on religious life in the U.S. Bill Moyers moderated the afternoon sessions, speaking on Friday. Morning speakers included: Andrew Sullivan, Dalliah Lithwick, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Ebo Patel, and the first female editor of Christianity Today. You can probably find out more on the Chautauqua website.


  2. I am grateful that my two adult offspring, both in their early 30s, are active church members. I credit their love of worship, fellowship, and service to the amazing adults who nurtured them at the churches we attended during their growing-up years.


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