Thursday, May 7, 2015

Coming Clean on Bringing Millennials Back to Church

Written by Keith Anderson. Posted by Bearings on , in 21stCenturyMinistry

Down at Every Laundromat in Town

Can you hear it? It’s the sound of Mainline ministry leaders around the country breathing deep sighs of relief, patting themselves on the back, and smiling in self-congratulation in response to the recent news that what Millennials—that generation woefully absent from their churches—really want from the church is . . . the sacraments.

In her new book, Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Rachel Held Evans chronicles her journey from the evangelicalism of her youth and young adulthood to The Episcopal Church. That shift is grounded in, and the book is organized around, the seven historic sacraments recognized by Anglo-Catholic Episcopalians: baptism, confession, holy orders (ordination), communion, confirmation, anointing the sick, and marriage.

In a recent and widely shared opinion piece for The Washington Post, “Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool,’” Held Evans writes that, like her, Millennials are not looking to churches for light shows and lattes. Rather, they are longing for the sacraments.
Judging from the comments I’ve seen in the days since Held Evans’s article was posted, I’m afraid that her assertion has had the unintended consequence of reinforcing the tendency toward inertia exhibited by some Mainline ministry leaders. “See, we’re fine. We don’t need to change,” I can hear them saying. “We can keep doing what we’re doing. Let’s put on some coffee, order some new communion wafers, and wait for the young evangelicals to come pouring in.”

Good luck with that.

Read more at http://www.thebtscenter.org/coming-clean/

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