Blog: Unhappy where I am. Is this church for me?

I do a lot of work with those “dreadful,” “dead end,” “discontent,” and “divisive” millennials. You know who I’m talking about – not because you’ve taken the time to sit and listen to them but because you’ve read the blogs. You’ve seen the latest books on ministering to them. You know the stats. You’ve heard their complaints and you’ve listened to their inappropriate, ungodly Gospel rap music.

Though I have been running at the mouth as I introduce this blog, spitting satire-soaked lies, I presume you know who I’m talking about. There is a group of young adults believers who are unhappy with where they are at (I use the term loosely to include 19-30 year olds). As us young adults see it, we are bombarded with plastic churches that blow smoke and stamp it the “Gospel.” 

We are bombarded with plastic churches that blow smoke and stamp it the “Gospel.”

We are old enough that we have seen hypocrisy first hand (yes, a church run by humans will have hypocrisy). We have been involved enough to have seen leaders turn a blind eye, apparently to focus more so on another avenue or two within the church (yes, a multifaceted church will have priorities). We have wondered what to do once we are no longer welcome at youth groups on account of age (yes, old people aren’t always welcome to play Call of Duty with the youth). What is my faith without marshmallow gun wars and the all-nighter lock-ins? I’ve been there. This is a serious transition that many young adults wrestle with as we transition from high school to the real world. What myself, and many others, have seen is portrayed by that bold, resounding statistic: 70% of young adults leave the church after youth group.

We leave but don’t worry – half just might return.

Young adults believers, all of my friends who believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I am writing for you. Unhappy where you are at ecclesiastically? When are you to throw in the towel? I have a few practical pieces of advice for you and I’d sincerely love to hear your feedback:

  • Unhappy: I’ve heard many accounts of folks becoming discontent with what their church is doing and saying generally (not including main doctrinal thoughts). Ask what is causing unpleasantries with your church body. Might we be trying to get more out of the church than what you should be? In other words, are we devoting ourselves to consistent time at the foot of the cross? Are those “convictions” that we’re feeling (about the way musical worship is done or particular topics are handled from the pulpit) led by the Holy Spirit or by that all too impending divisive nature that is within us? Though some issues are worth addressing as a church body, might it be wise to cast off menial discrepancies and lean into the cross as an entire body? “But, Jason, you and I both know that my church should be focusing less on ______ and much, much more on ______.” I do but please let those be conversations and not simply festering disagreements. Allow yourself to speak up in love and grace, knowing that your leaders love the body of believers that they’re serving. And once addressed, allow those divisions to be buried.
  • This Church: This church that you’re at, whether you have been there three weeks or three years, she has your attention for a reason. This church desires to serve you and grow you spiritually. This church regularly opens Scripture, draws on the power and movement of the Holy Spirit, and worships God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This church traces the story of redemption throughout all 66 books of God’s Word. If that does not describe your church, than you have reason to start raising questions. If you’re wondering why your church sucks at reaching those people. If you’re fed up because they don’t talk about that topic. If you don’t like the worship pastors hairdo (Mitch, that not a jab at your hair – we all know its stellar). If you’ve got those sorts of issues then I’d suggest you lift your hands in worship and tell Christ to take those chains from you. Write down those dusty concerns and throw them away. They’re keeping you from seeing the beauty of Christ’s bride.
  • Isn’t for me: Once those thoughts from above fester, we begin to think that we just don’t fit in our congregation. We know it’d be greener on the other side of different set of pews or, maybe, even if we weren’t planted in any pews at all? Why are you even contesting, or pushing back, against the church? Love the bride. Serve the church – In fact, seek to out serve the church. Be a slave to Christ and not a crossing guard who assesses every step that the church takes from this world to the next. Be less like an editor or a narrative critic and more like a composer, a writer. Rather than wondering if the church is for you, like someone shopping for the best set of running shoes or a tablet, we are to ask ourselves if we are for the church. If we are for the church than allow ourselves to get busy worshipping Christ and serving His bride.

This is not exhaustive nor final say – I just want to spur friends and family on. I want to see discontentments done away with. I want to see that old, foggy church that we see when we visit on Sunday morning come to life. I want for us to quit picking old scabs and to see the saving blood of Christ flow once again. Life is too short and the mission is too large for us to think any other way than of the grace and mercy of Christ Jesus.

Might you feel discontent sometimes?
How do you overcome it?