The Pew Research Center defines millennials as having personality. They are American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood. And they have begun to forge their own identity. They are confident, connected, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.
Generally, millennials are less religious than older Americans. Fewer young adults belong to any particular faith than older people do today. But for those millennials who are Christ’s followers, their religious affiliation is as strong today as among earlier generations.
Unfortunately, many are beginning to see a spiritual drought creep in the camp of Christ following millennials. The culture of hooking-up and shacking up is on the rise. The culture of laziness and unemployment is on the rise. Drug abuse and alcoholism is on the rise. The life-style of fun-loving party junkies is an epidemic. Apathy is on the rise and droves of millennials who once followed Christ are leaving the church.
Huston We Have a Problem!
The spiritual vitality in many churches in America today is not strong enough to stop this bleeding. In many ways those in the pulpit are as messed up and weak as those in the pew. We need men and women with spiritual fortitude and boldness to challenge this generation. A water-down gospel, give me sugar pastor and a make me feel good sermon will not shake this generation from the shackles of spiritual slumber. We need a more radical approach.
I’m reminded of the admonitions of one seasoned man of God to his spiritual son in the Lord. Timothy was young, single and shy but he had a calling on his life. Allow me to share with you the words of Paul to this young man.
20 Admonishments from a father to a son: Based on 2 Timothy 2
1. God is calling millennials to a strong faith through the grace that is in Christ Jesus. A wimpy, lazy, indifferent faith is a waste of time and potential. Millennials have faith. All they need to do is fan it into flames. Just a little fire.
2. God is looking for reliable millennials – men and women to advance His kingdom in this world. Stop wasting your lives on trivial pursuits. God is calling to a higher cause. Men and women who would partner with God for justice, his redemptive missions, equality and righteousness.
3. God is building millennials into soldiers who refuse to get entangled in civilian affairs. When the going gets rough, they take it on the chin with the rest of us.
4. It’s time for millennials to run for the victor’s crown by living according to the rules – if not they will never get anywhere.
5. It’s time for millennials to get off the lazy boy couch and get to work. Its time to work hard and embrace diligence, and watch God will bless the work of your hands. It’s time to break free from that spoiled, entitled, honey booboo, give it to me on a silver platter attitude.
6. Millennials embrace difficulties, knowing that it makes them strong and builds their character. When they don’t understand life, they don’t run home to mama, they look to the Lord to give them insight.
7. What is your gospel…? State it in a few words. Not some philosophical thought that lack the power to make one wise unto salvation. Not some water-down, make me feel good half truth, or a person’s worthless religion. I’m talking about “Gospel.” What is yours? Millennials are gospel centered.
8. Millennials die to the world. They pick up their cross and follow Him. They do everything for the sake of the cross and the strengthening of your brethren along the way.
9. Always remember – If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. Millennials have a Motto: To live is to Christ – to Die is to gain.
10. Millennials embrace grace but never abuse it. They are aware of the fact that God is faithful no matter what. He remains faithful even when they are not.
11. Millennials avoid pious nitpicking. They understand that it is of no value to anyone. That it chips away at the faith and wears everyone out.
12. In their pursuit of excellence, millenials do their best to present themselves to God. In everything they do, they offer nothing that cost them nothing. They give their best years, their talents, their gifts, their very selves. They study to show themselves approved by God. They lead their families and serve their communities of faith.
13. Millennials avoid godless chatter. They understand that those who indulge in it become more ungodly and their words spread like gangrene.
14. Millennials embrace sound doctrine. They don’t go off acting like they have a special revelation. They don’t compromise God’s truth in the name of tolerance. They don’t even attempt to explain God or make excuses for Him when it comes to His word and His truth. Millennials stay close to God’s solid foundation. They are aware that God is more that able to defend himself.
15. Millennials turn away from wickedness – they are followers of Christ and his example.
16. Millennials set themselves apart for special use in the hands of the master.
17. Millennials run away from infantile indulgence. They flee the culture of hooking-up and shacking up. They treat older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. They break addictions to pornography, drugs and alcohol abuse. They avoid the very appearance of evil.
18. Millennials run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God.
19. Millennials avoid foolish and stupid arguments. They do not quarrel with anyone in your community, church and spheres of influence. That includes their social media outlets.
20. Millennials are gentle listeners and teachers who keep their cool instructing those who oppose them. They know that their struggle is not against flesh and blood, so they let go of resentments. Firmly, graciously and patiently they work with those who oppose them.
Photo Credit: Scarborough