Sadly, statistics show those born after 1980 are leaving the church in droves, not a specific church, but churches in general. It’s not because there aren’t plenty of high tech power point presentations, contemporary music, casual dress and coffee, or a lack of small groups to address every issue that can be struggled with. The reason they’re leaving is not because they have given up on their faith, they’ve given up on the church. Not the programs, but the people.
I asked someone in that age group recently, “Why do you think surveys are reporting so many people your age are choosing to not be involved with church?” The answer was truthful, but biting.
“I suppose they’re tired of hearing one thing and seeing another. It’s real discouraging and somewhat confusing to watch people who have been in church for years, who can recite volumes of Scripture, who serve on several church committees and boards, but outside church they are mean, stingy, and unethical. I think my generation is basically fed up with fake. I think those who are leaving are more interested in spending their time with people who are honest and authentic. They may have a better understanding of what it means to be a Christian than those who profess one thing and live another,” she said.
Wow. She wasn’t angry or frustrated, but had a sadness in her tone. It made me sad, too, because I knew how she felt. Not long ago I ran into a churchgoing committee serving person who was pit bull mean. I had to hold my tongue, listen, and after a few minutes politely say I had to go. People who are hurting tend to hurt others. I guess since they’re unhappy, they think everyone else should be too, so they try their best to make it happen.
I saw a man in the Super Center in the frozen food department who’s tee shirt said: I DON’T LIKE MEAN PEOPLE. He and my young friend must know some of the same people. How sad it is we let other people ruin things for us.
I told my friend about something I read once that helped me when I was discouraged about all the say-one-thing-do-another people in church. It said, “I don’t follow those who say they follow Jesus. I follow Jesus.”
That’s simple and straight to the point. People are people and they will let us down. Jesus won’t.
“… and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:2