Teach the Word – otherwise, don't bet on Millennials coming back

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

youth worshipA noted Christian apologist says evangelical churches shouldn't be resorting to "infotainment" in their attempt to keep younger generations interested in church – and that includes making casino games available during celebrations.

As Millennials age out of the home, they – like generations before them – are leaving the faith. But according to a new survey, the difference is that the current generation of Millennials is unlikely to come back.

Analysis by the American Enterprise Institute of a poll called the "General Social Survey" confirms what two writers at FiveThirtyEight say: "… there's mounting evidence that today's younger generations may be leaving religion for good." AEI's researchers cite three reasons: Millennials' parents taught them fewer religious practices; more of the Millennials have secular spouses; and fewer feel the need to pass their faith on to their children.


Dr. Alex McFarland of Truth for a New Generation agrees with the assessment. "Many American evangelical parents have fallen down on the job," he acknowledges. "Almost anything can preempt a family's commitment to Christ – soccer games, high school trips, virtually anything and everything."

And although the survey looked at Millennials of all faiths and denominations, McFarland says the evangelical church followed some bad trends as far back as the 1970s.

"The quest to make youth ministry and discipleship ever easier and more accessible and not just 'study and reflection' – but actually 'make it fun' and 'make it exciting'?" he questions. "[That] made many churches more about what I would call infotainment and less about imparting the rock-solid truths of scripture."

And when parents lost the foundations of the faith, the apologist laments, there was less to pass on to their Millennial children.

In a way, McFarland says the horse is already out of the barn. "The majority of Millennials would not come back to a church that they were never a part of in the first place. They need to be evangelized," he emphasizes.

According to McFarland, the way to get folks back to church is to teach the truth of the gospel – not by using worldly gimmicks such as a casino night.

Southern Baptist casino night

Blueprint Church in Atlanta, whose lead teaching pastor, Dahti Lewis, is a vice president with the North American Mission Board, celebrated its ten-year anniversary last weekend. While the celebration included all the things one might expect at a Southern Baptist shindig – food, fellowship, door prizes – it also included roulette, black jack, poker, and craps.

No real money was wagered during the celebration – regardless, McFarland says there's no place for even "pretend" gambling at a church.

"We've nearly reached a new low when we have to emulate casinos to try to get people interested in church," he tells OneNewsNow. "If we've got to go that far to mimic some of what represents the darkest parts of any culture, God help us.

"Rather than do pathetic imitations of the world, why don't we in the church offer the world the thing that we alone have to dispense: the truth of the gospel," he emphasizes, arguing that's what is most effective in attracting new converts.

Research finds that when real gambling enters a community, it often comes with increases in crime, prostitution, and bankruptcy claims. McFarland calls the church's casino night a "tacit endorsement" of the real thing that implies it's "okay to do that in our spare time."

Comments will be temporarily unavailable. Thank you for your patience as we restore this service!

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details




The main lesson for the GOP to learn from Democrats defending Maxine Waters is…





Dems push $25B to electrify school buses, a Biden priority
US-backed Afghan peace meeting postponed, as Taliban balk
Disruption in oxygen supply kills 22 in Indian hospital
Jury reaches verdict at trial over George Floyd's death
Police: 1 killed, 2 wounded in shooting at NY grocery store
Walter Mondale, Carter's vice president, dies at 93


Ohio police officer fatally shoots teenage girl who appears to hold a knife during fight, video show
Norfolk fires police lieutenant who donated to accused vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse
Body of Kristin Smart, 19, who disappeared in 1996 may have been 'recently' moved from under hom
Dershowitz: Chauvin guilty verdict product of jury fear, not due process
Minnesota’s Walz declares state of emergency prior to Derek Chauvin verdict


Cartoon of the Day
Is the liberal UMC 'takeover' cheating traditionalists?

UMC Book of Discipline (2016) 2Liberals in the United Methodist Church have masterminded a proposal to resolve the theological debate that has consumed their denomination for decades. But a lifelong member of the denomination argues that their "rigged" resolution is anything but equitable for traditionalists.