How Millennials Who Gave Up on Church are Redefining Faith and Re-engaging Community: Series Intro

April 1, 2012

Faith, Hollywood, Millennials

What looks like the death of religion in America, may in fact be the birth pangs of one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in history.

by Gary David Stratton, PhD

Millennials are abandoning hierarchical spectator churches

For nearly 400 years American churches have counted on Easter Sunday as the day of their largest attendance.  But if you’re watching carefully, attendance at traditional churches is getting smaller and smaller every year, especially among young adult “Millennials” (or “Mosiacs,” or “Generation Y.”)

Yet if you walk into some of the most thriving churches in Hollywood, such as Reality, Ecclesia, or Basileia, you are immediately struck by overwhelming swarms of Millennials.  What gives?

Are Millennails leaving the church, or coming back to it?  Or is the answer MUCH more complicated?

While swarming redefined faith communities committed to justice and relational connection (Baptism at Basileia Hollywood)

In honor of Easter we’re running a week of special posts on why so many Millennials are leaving the church, why they are coming back to something far different than the church they left, and how they are changing American religion in the process.

Millennial writers and spiritual formation leaders and a few of us more “seasoned” folks will weigh in on various aspects of the topic. Lord willing, it will contribute to a greater understanding of where the Holy Spirit is taking the church in the coming decades.

You Lost Me

We kick off the conversation with two posts by David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group and a beloved former student and friend. David is an ongoing THW contributor and one of the most thoughtful “public intellectuals” on the subject of Millennial Faith (he calls them “Mosaics”).

I wept my way through his two latest books, unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity… and Why It Matters (with Gabe Lyons) and You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith as he traced the reasons why young adults raised in evangelicalism are giving up on church, but not faith.

Along the way, I hope you come to the same conclusion that Sue and I have: what looks like the death of religion in America, may in fact be the birth pangs of one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in history.

 

Next: Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church, by David Kinnaman

 

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