It seems that a lot of adult ministers are facing a dilemma in the world. Christianity and church are running becoming increasingly unpopular in my generation. I can attest to being one of the many who doesn’t go to church very often. I believe God, however, but the God I see being represented in the media is not the God me and my peers believe in. In addition, the cult like atmosphere of church makes us uncomfortable. We are a generation of freedom, not restriction.
Generally, we are Generation Proof or Generation Why, because we demand proof for all of the hard, skeptical questions we have. Rarely has any church been able to answer our questions. The reason for this is that our questions are interpreted as judgemental and we seem to have already judged the answer. But the truth is, we have the gene to question authority. We want all sides of the story. We want to hear about your doubts in religion, we want to hear that you don’t know all these answers and we want you to answer our questions. Preaching only that “Jesus saves” to people who aren’t like the kids in “Jesus Camp” produces horrible results on the whole.
I doubt my generation will be a very strong “church going” generation aside from the evangelical children being taught as in “Jesus Camp.” We will be a generation of faith though, just not restricted in a church. If you practice youth ministry, my advice would be to ask genuinely without expectations what they want out of religion and how they see God in their lives.
In addition, atheism is growing among my generations for the same reasons above going to church for believes has diminished. I can guarantee, especially being on a college campus, that there is astounding number of believers in God who just don’t want part in any church. In essence, church isn’t appealing. Ask people my age why.
One last comment, my generation has a lot invested in the idea that personal responsibility in necessary. We face a lot of expectations from parents, school and society, so church is just another place for expectations we don’t want to deal with. The new ministry that a lot of seek is one the “preaches” personal ability and trusting in yourself. After all (Imago Dei), if everyone has a piece of God, truly taking the time to make decisions based on what you heart tells you will lead to the will of God, right?