Mature Christians Need to Stop Allowing the Under 30 Crowd to Direct the Entire State of Christian Affairs

Mature Christians Need to Stop Allowing the Under 30 Crowd to Direct the Entire State of Christian Affairs

I remember being in my twenties seeing articles appear in the paper about how Christians over 30 were freaked out or worried about Christians in their twenties and younger. I did not understand this mindset then (when I was a teen and in my twenties), and I don’t understand it now.

If you are someone reading this in 2014 who is currently under the age of 30, this blog post might piss you off. Welcome to the club, because I am already there now.

If you are in your twenties as you read this now (2014) and feel offended by it, please book mark this page, save it, and re-visit it when you are 40 or 50 years of age, and you will probably have a change of heart when you are older.

It’s hard to see and understand when you are under the age of 35, but once you’re past 35, you really start to notice what I’m writing about in this post.

I have written before about American Christianity’s fixation on youth, specifically, today’s “Millennials.”

I have a blog post where I was for a time keeping track of all the “Oh noes, the youth be leavin’ the church, how can we stop this travesty” type stories I kept coming across.

It’s located here:
(Link): (Ageism): Links about the never ending obsession with why the kids are bailing on church (one stop thread)

What just clicked in my mind today after glancing over a headline on a Christian news site, the headline being something like, “Must one believe in a six day creation account to be a biblical inerrantist?,” was this:

Christians are allowing much of the state of Christian affairs today to be dictated by people who are under the age of 30, especially those who are under the age of 25. And this is not good.

Interestingly, this stupidity falls equally across the aisle from liberal Christians to conservative ones. Both liberal and conservative Christians get their knickers in a bunch over what teeny-boppers and college kids think about the faith, the Bible, and Jesus.

Both liberals and conservatives are oh- so- concerned and oh- so- sensitive about what the kids think today.

While churches continue to heap finances and resources on marriage and married couples, they also spend a great deal of time, money, and energy routinely twisting their hands in agony over how to appeal to 21 year old kids.

Why?

Jesus said your duty is to share the Gospel with every one. I don’t remember Jesus saying to obsess over only one demographic, how to get only the 21- year- olds in a church building every week, or how to respond to their questions about the faith and their spiritual struggles.

To be sure, yes, there are generic appeals in the Bible about ‘answering everyone who has a question for you, be ready with an answer,’ but these sorts of verses are dealing with the realm of one- on- one evangelizing, not promoting this idea that every adult Christian over 30 is supposed to spend all his day and energy trying to craft arguments and responses to every doubting 13 year old or every 23 year old every where in America.

Why is there more concern shown over the spiritual welfare of a 21 year old by most American Christians, than say, a divorced 46 year old man, or a 74 year old widow?

Many people in their 30s and older have dropped out of churches, and some even depart from the Christian faith itself, but Christians don’t appear to care about them or what their doubts and spiritual issues are. Why?

I have noticed that anything that becomes an issue for 20 somethings becomes an issue for anyone over 30, and I think that is a big mistake. This is the biggest point of this post.

For example, common themes I keep bumping into in the last few years in Christian papers and blogs (even blogs by lay persons), say that 20 somethings (the “Millennials”),

1.

    do not believe in YEC (Young Earth Creationism), but believe in evolution and/or that the earth is millions of years old.

Ergo, many Christians are now running around in books, pod casts, and blogs, screaming and yelling and chastising preachers for not addressing these topics.

Or, preachers and other Christians are, conversely, criticized for still supporting, teaching, or believing YEC in and outside of church services and church buildings.

Adults who believe in YEC are typically ridiculed, shamed, and mocked in the course of such posts simply for being YEC, not just YEC itself. (That is, many times in posts about this topic, the people who believe in YEC are being picked on and mocked, not just their view about the age of the earth, but the people themselves are portrayed as idiot yokels.)

Lay persons (and some professional writers) are insisting that churches need to give equal time to anti-YEC views, or start teaching that evolution may be true.

The sensitivity is usually a one-way street:
Adult YECs are supposed to tenderly cradle the wounded 23 year old and his concerns, the kid who thinks the earth is billions of years old, but then sit there and take ridicule and insult off that kid, or adults who are sympathetic to that kid.

There is no sensitivity for adult YECs, not even ones who have had it with the faith and are thinking of leaving. I have seen this time and again on post-evangelical blogs and others.

It is repeatedly said in Christian blogs and papers that 20 somethings (the “Millennials”),

2. do not believe that homosexuality is sinful, and at that, usually because they have a best friend or two who identify as being homosexual.

And gosh golly, Millennial Susie or Joe’s homosexual friend Billy is such a dang nice guy!11!!!1111!!

Millennial Sue or Millennial Joe feel just awful in church if the preacher says in a sermon, or the Sunday School teacher says, homosexuality is sinful, because it makes them think of Billy, but Billy is so peachy swell nice, it makes them sad to think Billy is being condemned in any way, shape, or form (or just Billy’s sexuality).

Ergo, many Christians start insisting on blogs, Facebook groups, podcasts and magazine articles that churches either need to really soften how they discuss homosexuality, or, don’t raise the topic at all (lest if offend homosexuals or their straight pals), or, teach that the Bible does not frown upon homosexuality.

It is repeatedly said in Christian blogs and papers that 20 somethings (the “Millennials”),

3. do not believe pre marital sex is sinful (or stated in the opposite, they feel that sexual purity / virginity teachings are mean, wrong, or unbiblical).

Ergo, many Christians then argue on blogs, in radio shows, books, and magazines that teaching virginity as a biblical standard is mean, is not realistic, and is hurting the feelings of the 80% of Christians who have copped to, yes, having pre-marital sex.

It is repeatedly said in Christian blogs and papers that 20 somethings (the “Millennials”),

4. do not believe in or feel comfortable with the idea of a literal, eternal place called Hell where non-believers (people who reject Christ) spend their time after they die.

Ergo, mature Christians say, “maybe we ought to tone down or omit any teachings about Hell, so as to spare the feelings of the sensitive 25 year olds. And is there REALLY a literal place like that? Author Rob Bell said no.”

It is repeatedly said in Christian blogs and papers that 20 somethings (the “Millennials”),

5. do not like politics being discussed in church.

Ergo, some mature Christians say that preachers should not bring up politics too often in sermons.

(I’m actually in some agreement on this last point. There is such a strong, frequent association of Republican = Christian in conservative churches and Democrat = Loving, Christian in liberal churches that it tends to take the focus off Christ.)

My point here it not so much to argue about each point in and of itself, that is, which is right, is YEC the correct position, or is the earth millions of years old, etc?

My point is I do not understand why American Christians allow their agenda or purpose to be driven by one little slice or two of the demographic – if it’s not married-with-children couples, it’s people who are under the age of 30.

Why is so much stock being placed in the under-30s, their views, their lives, and their opinions?

Some evangelicals may cite studies that show that most people are “won to Christ” before they reach age of 12 or 13, and they will attempt to use that to justify why they believe in marketing and pushing more for the “kiddie bracket.”

But I don’t see that approach being taught in Scripture.

Other than a “bring your child up in the way he should go” comment and “don’t let older people bum you out for not listening to you due to your youth” verse, the Bible does not really mention the issue that much.

I don’t recall there being any sort of instruction in the Bible, or view that says, “the spiritual well- being and spiritual needs of youth out- weigh those of the people who are over 30.”

I think all the pandering to the under 30s is ageist and ridiculous.

I didn’t like it when I was under 30 and it went on back then.

I also found it weird that older adults were giving so much weight to what my generation felt and wanted, which was a very short span in time, by the way – our culture generally ignores my group, the Gen X crowd, in favor of Baby Boomers (yeah, I am really sick and tired of hearing about Baby Boomers, almost more than I am the now- 20- somethings), and now, the Millennials.

I am fine to a point with churches and Christian culture trying to meet the needs of, and address the concerns of, 20- somethings, as long as it is balanced out with addressing the concerns and needs of other age groups. But that is not the case.

Christians, for the last 40 or so years, have been obsessed with evangelizing and catering to under – 30s, and it seems as though it’s gotten ten times worse the last 5 – 10 years.

Evangelicals, Reformed, and Baptists should not allow the 20 somethings to steer the agenda. They need to let the adults drive the bus, not the kids.

By the way, when I was a teen and 20 something and had questions and doubts about the faith – and this was BEFORE the internet (the internet did not really take off until I was in my mid or late 20s), prior to that, I had to go in person to book stores and libraries and buy books or check them out.

I did a ton of reading and spent a lot of my own money on books, researching Christian apologetics topics on my own. I did NOT expect the adults to feed the answers to my doubts all the time.

I think preachers should give spiritual food to their congregants, yes (I am not in agreement with preachers of seeker friendly churches who tell their members to “self feed”), but if you need something much deeper, you need to do some of your own research.

There needs to be a balance.

I think there may be a slight difference between being spiritually fed and intellectual apologetics.

In other words, if your sticking point is wondering how old the age of the earth is, and you think this uncertainty is a hindrance to your faith, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect a preacher to spend an entire sermon on a topic like that.

IMO, that is more an intellectual pursuit that may require days of study in a library than expecting a preacher to pony up all the answers on your behalf, sorry. And you can get those types of brainy answers on your own, by doing research.

However, let’s say a married couple in the church wants a baby but the wife keeps having miscarriages: that is a serious life problem that also gets into the “why does God permit evil” sort of thing that can cause someone to have severe doubts and leave the Christian faith, and I do think preachers need to address something of that nature…

Rather than constantly giving those insipid, shallow, “God has a vision for your life, go after your dreams!” type sermons that do not answer anyone’s concerns, doubts, or questions.

If some 23 year old kid sits about thinking, “Oh goodness, I was raised in church, but all my college instructors said the earth is ‘X’ million years old, not 6,000 like my Sunday School teacher taught me, oh dear, this raises questions about the truth of the faith in my mind, what shall I do or think?,” then that kid with doubts can damn well get off his ass and read books on the topic, pro and con, and arrive at his own conclusions.

Why should the entire Christian culture come to a grinding halt to stop and focus all attention on responding to the concerns of one generation of people?

Even in my day, when I was in my 20s, while I did see some concern over why some 20 somethings were having faith issues, I do not recall all of evangelical Christianity or other branches of the faith spazzing out and churning out 567 billion books or radio shows per day about it, like today’s adults are doing with “the millennials.”

What makes “the millennials” so much more damn special and deserving of attention than Gen X or Gen Y? Absolutely, positively nothing, as far as I can tell.

I can guarantee you tomorrow if some new study came out saying a scientific sampling of average, 24 year old Christians was taken, and this study revealed that…

– Such young Christians favor red- colored carpeting to blue carpeting in church buildings, that the day after this study is published, we would then see….

    – 675 trillion articles about this topic, many blog pages and online magazines, from “Desiring God,” “Together for the Gospel,” “Resurgence,” “Relevant” magazine, “Boundless,” “Focus on the Family,” “Christianity Today,” and…

Blog posts with every one else weighing in, from Rachel Held Evans (who is nice but who caters to the kids a wee bit too much), to Tim Challies, Al Mohler, Stuff Christian Culture Likes blog (or group), and all of them telling us,

“We should seriously consider ripping out blue carpeting in all churches and replacing it with red color carpet. Having blue carpeting is so insensitive to the millennials! If the millennials don’t like blue carpeting, well, then, let’s get rid of blue!”

With some of the aforementioned sites also containing these sorts of tear- jerking anecdotes:

“My friend Sally, who was 21 years old, who was so awesome, when she told her pastor she prefers red carpeting and found the blue carpeting in the church worship room troubling to her faith, he refused to change the church carpeting. So then, *sniff*, Sally started cutting herself! Then she committed suicide three months later! I left the church and never looked back.”

– Many Churches would actually, literally start ripping out all blue carpeting to replace it with red, to attract or keep the kids.

Mark Driscoll, Ed Young Sr, and Steven Furtick types would totally put red carpeting down in Mars Hill or Elevation Churches if the trend showed that was what was cool and relevant and sensitive to the under 30s these days was red carpeting.

Now, if the same survey was taken of Christians ages 40 – 60 saying we prefer green carpeting and are seriously considering leaving church or the faith altogether over blue carpeting in churches, nary a peep would arise from Christian news sites or the Christian blog-o-sphere over it.

Your average Christian today, who is over the age of 30, really, deeply cares about the feelings, wishes, desires, and problems of 22 year old kids but not a crap for anyone over 30. I’ve yet to figure out why.

It’s time for conservative and liberal American Christians to stop fixating on what Christians under 30 think, feel, need, and believe, especially when so many people over the age of 30 and their needs and doubts are being brushed off and ignored.
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★ Related posts, on THIS site:

(Link): Youth Fixation in Churches and how it alienates older Christians

(Link): I Don’t Care That The Millennials Are Leaving Church – Churches Ignore Age 40 Forties 40+ Generation X Mid Life

(Link): Why Even Middle Aged Married with Children Christians Are Leaving Church – Not Just Unmarried Singles | 40 Somethings Gen X Quitting Leaving Church

(Link): The Christian and Non Christian Phenomenon of Virgin Shaming and Celibate Shaming

(Link):  Ministering to the Unmarried at Home and Abroad by C. Darnell (article focuses on middle aged, never married adults and ministering to the elderly)
———————————–
★ Related material on OTHER SITES:

(Link): The Millennial Mistake by Dr. James Emery White

(Link): Uh, Jesus is not a Millennial …

(Link): An Unhealthy Obsession to Reach Millennials

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