May 15, 2015
St. Andrew Update: We have a great volunteer opportunity to demonstrate the hospitality that we have here at St. Andrew. From June 7-9, we will have 300 churches here at St. Andrew and we need hundreds of volunteers. Sign up here.
The world is changing. America is changing. According to a new Pew Research study of religious habits of Americans, 23% of adults claim to have no religious affiliation. That means that 1 out of 4 adults have no connection to faith. When you look at young adults, that number jumps to 56% of younger millennials (born 1990-1996).
I don’t know if that statistic has really sunk in: A MAJORITY OF YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE NO RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION. This is in spite of the fact that 80% of them grew up in religious homes. Here is one take-away from the numbers – we are doing a very bad job of teaching our younger generations the importance of faith in Jesus. Oddly, this is not marked with a large increase in the number of atheists or even professed agnostics. Rather, younger generations seem to be simply unengaged in the story that the church is telling.
My uncle was quoted by CNN in this article where he provides a way to think about moving forward: “If it is the case that millennials are less ‘atheists’ than they are ‘bored,’ then serious engagements with Christian social innovation, and with deep intellectual reflection (and these two things are connected), would offer promising signs of hope.”
Christian social innovation and deep intellectual reflection. I read that to mean that we must daily and weekly study the scriptures and engage in worship and small groups that help us live it out personally as we implement that faith creatively to change the world. Really, it means that we must live like passionate servants of Jesus Christ and reject the Christian-ish tendencies in our world.
Four years ago, we adjusted our mission statement to be that St. Andrew is Calling the Christian-ish to become Passionate Servants of Christ. There was some confusion as to what we meant by that word. I think that we are seeing it played out in the world, especially with younger generations. We are not becoming a country like China or Cuba of active atheists, but rather a country that just doesn’t care about it. We want some Christian teachings without being actively Christian.
Our world is changing, and we must engage with it differently. We cannot just let our Christianity be passive. We cannot let our faith simply rest and assume that it will be taken care of. This isn’t your father’s America or your grandfather’s America where Christianity was assumed. This is going to require a new type of Christianity, and I’m ready for it. I’m ready for:
- A Christianity that makes us different from the rest of the culture.
- A Christianity that is invested in studying scripture.
- A Christianity that reflects on that scripture in community so that I can be shaped.
- A Christianity that engages the social issues of the day with creativity and passion.
- A Christianity that doesn’t allow for boredom because it is so active.
This type of Christianity is the one that is required to address a Christian-ish world. Are you ready?