I found this explanation of Why Millennials are Leaving the Church fascinating. The author, a woman of 33, is the age of my children, and her statements ring true for me. She says what her friends want and need from the church is not about style. The typical church response when working to attract younger members of “edgier music, more casual services, a coffee shop in the fellowship hall, a pastor who wears skinny jeans, an updated Web site that includes online giving” don’t help, she says. Instead, she suggests, millennials are often drawn to high-church traditions (and she specifically mentions the Episcopal Church) when they sense the members of the church have the right substance:
We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.
We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.
We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.
We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.
We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.
You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.
I hear much in her words that encourages me and much that convicts me. How about you?