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The Church Failed Millennials, Just Not in the Way You Think It Did

I saw all the ways I could be loved and give love, know and be known, receive and give myself away in imitation of my Savior. In spite of it all, I became conscious of my deep need for the church.

In fact, following Jesus without her didn’t really make any sense. If I had walked away, it wouldn’t have been just her problem but mine as well. It wasn’t an issue of the church getting better to fit my wants, needs and expectations, but realizing how skewed and myopic some of my wants and judgments really were (and still are).

And this brings me to my “plea” to fellow millennials.

A lot of us are leaving the church. For some of us, this is simply finding out we never really had anything more than a superficial “faith” in the first place. Others of us really love Jesus, but are fed up and frustrated with the church we grew up with.

My question for you is: Have you prayed for her? Have you really served her? Do you love her? Have you struggled to see her the way Christ sees her, as the bride He was willing to lay Himself down for, even to the point of death to cover her sins and make her whole?

If you haven’t, try it. 

Pray for the church. Pray for her health, her life, her forgiveness, her sanctification and mission in the world.

Then, find a half-way decent church that preaches the Bible, prays and tries to be neighborly, and commit yourself to it. Risk being wrong about the church in the best way possible. Continue to show up, be present, graciously challenging, as well as submitting, enough to have an actual voice in your community.

Whatever you do, don’t simply leave.

If you do, you’ll rob yourself of the chance to see what Jesus is doing in that community He’s covenanted Himself to. Instead, commit yourself and risk a bit of hope. Generations before us have found that God comes through on His promises to preserve the church He obtained with His own blood (Acts 20:28).

Dare to believe that Jesus is still sanctifying His Bride until that day when she is presented to Him in glory. I know for myself, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  

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Derek Rishmawy is the Director of College and Young Adult ministries at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Orange County, CA, where he wrangles college kids for the gospel. He’s been graciously adopted by the Triune God. That God has also seen fit to bless him with lovely wife named McKenna. He got his B.A. in Philosophy at UCI and his M.A. in Theological Studies (Biblical Studies) at APU.