Well, here's another blog post about Millennials. Yep, we know all about them. They can't carry on a face-to-face conversation. They have no need for scholarly pursuits because, hey, there's the Internet. They experience real, physical pain when without their phone. They're sure their time is worth far more than what's being offered, yet they don't think things are overpriced. They think they came up with showy eyewear and beards. They don't know what a pound sign is. And, most importantly, entertainment is all they want from Jesus.
Don't we know all these things are true about Millennials? Jonathan Aigner says we shouldn't be so sure. In a recent post on his blog Ponder Anew, he gives his thoughts on how off-target the Church's approach has been toward his generation. So far off, in fact, that it has actually contributed to many of them leaving.
They left because they had been constantly catered to, constantly kept busy, but had never been taught how to be a part of the church.
I find Aigner's assessment very interesting because it flies in the face of conventional thinking on young people. So many in the Church have been convinced for so long that entertainment is what young people want, it has become an accepted truth. If a worship service isn't dazzling, the young people won't come. Or so we've been told. But dazzling isn't a foundation; it's not a safe harbor in the tempest of life. So while contemporary worship is fun for some for a time, it doesn't by itself lead to a lifelong, deeply grounded faith in Christ. There has to be more.
Aigner makes some great points about what's been missing in most contemporary churches: theology, liturgy, sacraments, honesty.
Just be the church. Be yourself. Use your regular old liturgy. Offer your regular old sacraments. Sing your regular old songs. Cast a wide net, and let [come] whosoever will come.
Without these elements, he opines, the Church is just a "Jesusy versions of mainstream entertainment", which has never been all that appealing.
I can't help but feel the picture Aigner paints of a healthy church is, in many ways, the church the CRCNA has tried to be. I know that sounds a tad obsequious. Even I'm rolling my eyes a little. Still, I think it's true. We've maintained a strong emphasis on sound doctrine. We hold liturgy in high regard, and take sacraments seriously. We've never taught that life in Christ is some surreal happiness train, constantly masking the pain of a fallen world. At least I don't think we've ever taught that.
But what do you think? Is Jonathan right? Has the contemporary Church strayed too far from the path? What about the CRC? How about your church? Please read Aigner's post and give us your response.