It's no secret that younger generations are leaving the Church in droves –for all sorts of reasons. In her research, Sarah Margaret Vaughn cites spiritual wounds from exclusivity, inauthenticity, and dislike for the Church's involvement in politics, power, and money as the reason Millennials are leaving the Church. And if you are one of them but want to find a church community again, you may be asking, "How do I decide which church is right for me? How do I find a safe church?"
Here is the advice I would give to any young person that is in the process of finding a new church:
So if you are feeling like you are boring or that your life is boring, I beg you to reconsider. You are divine. The same materials God used to make stardust and amethyst and sunsets are the same materials he used to weave you together in your mother’s womb. You are not boring. You are just disconnected from your stunning, complex, beautiful authentic self.
The Apostle Paul’s prayer for the church at Philippi is one we need to claim as our own in this cultural moment. Paul prayed for this church that “their love would abound more and more in truth and in all discernment.” We need truth, and we need the skills to navigate all of the ideas, the competing authorities, and the information of this moment. The word for that is discernment, the ability to distinguish between what is true and false, what is genuine and counterfeit, what is good and what is evil.
These days, it seems like every news headline is calibrated to grab our attention and entice us to click on the link. Unfortunately, few of these headlines stoke our desire to be informed and instead are tailored to either make us angry or afraid. Appealing to these two strong emotions–fear and loathing–may spell big paydays for corporations, but they are killing our souls and destroying our sanity. Followers of Jesus have to find a better way to read the news.
Misleading voices on both the left and the right confidently asserted the virus really wasn’t that bad. More than one conservative talk show host, motivated to keep the President’s wins front and center, compared Covid-19 to the common cold or seasonal flu. And more than a few liberal voices also downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19, apparently hoping to cease an opportunity to portray Trump’s travel restrictions to China as racist or otherwise misguided.