Why Gen Y is losing their faith (and 3 things that might bring it back) pt. 2

Posted on April 19th, 2012

 

Why is Gen Y’s faith being packed away with their Barbie dolls and baseball cards?

The reality of the Millennial generation turning our backs on faith is what I discussed yesterday.

So what might bring us back?

Let me tell my story and the three things that helped me re-faith.

 

Gen Y Re-Faithed
Photo via Janaina Castelo – Creative Commons

My Story

 

I’m a PK. That’s a pastor’s kid for those not mired in Christianese.

As I began making life my own, away from professors and parents, I experienced a dramatic re-definition/refining of my own faith as a twentysomething. That’s a polite way to say I felt like a Pinata getting the candy slammed out of me every day — doubts and questions smacking me like a baseball bat in the hands of Barry Bonds.

The biggest question I waded through every day — Does my life actually resemble what I say I believe?

On a good day I felt like a hypocrite.

On a bad day I felt like an ugly liar and an insecure fake.

I write about this faith-lost-n-found more in my upcoming book All Groan Up: Searching for Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! But here are the three things that helped bring me back.

 

3 Things that Might Help Gen Y Re-Faith

 

1. Less “Relevance” More Authenticity

There’s been a big push for relevance in the church. Not a bad thing. However, to a majority of churches “relevance” means solely using the best technology. Hip marketing slogans. A light and fog show during the worship that resembles a Coldplay concert — basically a unified effort on Sunday to make it as Contemporvant as possible.

Gen Y doesn’t want a slick and sleek faith. We are bombed with marketing every day. I wanted a place where I could bring questions, doubts, and fears and have a safe place to be heard.

 

2. Compelling Stories

Gen Y wants to first be understood. Then they want to be inspired. Stories transform brokenness and barriers.

It was the movie Walk the Line about Johnny Cash that spoke to me more about faith than any sermon.

If Gen Y can enter a story larger than simply the do’s or don’t's lest you be sent to hell, then faith will find it’s relevance.

 

3. Listening to the Questions Without Giving Answers

To be authentic with Gen Y you have to be secure enough to not always answer the question.

No take John 3:16 twice in the morning and you’ll feel fine and doodily-dandy. No apply Jeremiah 29:11 to that gaping hole in your chest.

No, Gen Y needs just simple nods of understanding.

It was those few special people who were willing to get down on their knees in the mud with me, that pulled me up.

 

 Future of Faith for Gen Y

I think Millennials will still make faith an important aspect of their lives, they just might not do it in a big building every Sunday morning. Andrew Sullivan summed up this trend in a recent Newsweek article headlined: Forget the Church, Follow Jesus. Gen Y and Millennials have led the major backlash against “organized religion”.

Faith will still be important, tying that faith to a specific religious denomination might not.

 

Photo via Janaina Castelo – Creative Commons

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Comments

7 comments
  1. Building on your three things, an element that I think is essential in open dialogue about faith and beliefs is to avoid putting people into camps. Once a room is divided into believers and everyone else, everything shuts down and people unwittingly become adversaries and we default into trying to WIN the conversation.

    I’m toying with the idea of hosting a support group of sorts for frank discussion about issues of faith and loss of faith. The corner stone would be that no one in the room is RIGHT and no one in the room is WRONG. In this room, the concept of absolute truth would not exist and assertions of the REAL truth would not be entertained. If no one is trying to convince anybody of anything, and people don’t feel like they need to defend their flank, I think true, healing communication could happen.

    • Id visit that group for sure! We as a generation live in a tough world between science and our older world parents

  2. I remember when I used to host an hour radio show called SpeakEasy where we talked about stuff just like this. I remember one night we were talking about abortion in college-aged people, and how Christianity as a whole needs to speak the language of those they say they’re trying so hard to reach. This includes the motivations behind why they’re trying to reach them, too.

    A year later, I dont work in radio, I work at a gas station on the shores of the Mississippi river. And while you’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, you’ll also find real people underneath the cigerettes, lottery tixs and porn. I guess Im saying Jesus is with these people. It’s not bright shiny churches with suits and dresses- NIV Bibles and hip coffee shops- and if we cant speak their language and honestly relate we need to check a different religion for the polls- because they’ll be checking out, otherwise.

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