Over the weekend Rachel Held Evans published a blog post about how Millennials are leaving the church. Anyone doing ministry with college students or young adults saw this post, yawned, and went back to making disciples of the millennials who are leaving the church.
Other people got all fired up about it. I saw lots of facebook posts/tweets either lauding the article or worrying about her conclusions.
An observation: nothing Evans wrote about is new. McLaren wrote about this in 2000, as did Eddie Gibbs. No one has written more insightfully about this phenomenon than Christian Smith and Kenda Dean (my favorite). It’s been David Kinnamen’s life work.
Evans has received some push back, and some of it has been pretty good. See this and this.
I don’t have much more to add to the conversation, especially after Jonathan Fitzgerald went and posted this today. But, if there is something that stands out to me about millennials, it is best captured by recounting a scene from the greatest movie of all time: High Fidelity.
High Fidelity follows the story of Rob, a music snob who spends his time running a record store, making top 5 lists for everything under the sun, and trying to figure out why he’s never found the love of his life.
At the end of the film Rob reveals to his girlfriend that he is producing an album for some local skate-punks. His girlfriend is proud of him: “Rob, the professional critic, is finally putting something out there in the world.”
If there is something unique about millennials it just might be this: we’re a generation of professional critics. There is no shortage of outlets these days for people to share their opinions, to let the world know what we like and don’t like, what we need and hate, what we want to get rid of and what we want.
But, as Fitzgerald points out, talking (expressing our endless opinions) doesn’t matter as much as action.
Rob undergoes a transformation: critic to creator, and that is what is needed in the church today. Not more opinions, ideas, blog posts, or books.
If I had one creator for every five critics we’d change a whole lot.