The Loneliness of Being a Millennial in Church

Great thoughts from a Millennial in ministry!

Sarah S. Howell

I often feel lonely in church.

Sometimes it has to do with my role. As a pastor, I have certain responsibilities to the people I serve, what we call the “sacred trust.” I try not to be someone other than who I really am, but there is still a sense in which I am never fully myself in church. And that can be lonely.

But what’s on my mind today isn’t the loneliness of being a pastor. I’ll save that for another post. What’s on my mind today is the loneliness of being a millennial in the mainline church.

There is a kind of grief that comes when you look around a room of hundreds of people united by a common identity for a common purpose and see hardly anyone within 10 years of your age. Mind you, I have no desire to be part of a community that is comprised solely…

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4 thoughts on “The Loneliness of Being a Millennial in Church

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  1. I think this sentence from the post really sums it up so well…”Maybe the problem isn’t millennials’ apathy toward the church—maybe it’s the church’s apathy toward the concerns and passions of millennials, and not just millennials but the world outside the Christian bubble.” At my church, we do a lot of things to “move out into the neighborhood” and it really does change the way we see the world outside and how the world outside sees us. Even just reading through posts here on WordPress, I’ve learned so much about what other people are thinking and feeling. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm…

    I think I know the lonely feeling in church, but I am Gen X. So maybe its different. Dunno. But I think its because I am a troubler of the church. Rarely comfortable, often disturbing. I have been kicked around in/by church all my life. It’s a bloodsport in there, but that fact is closely guarded and not let anywhere near the brochure.

    BUT… a few years ago… about a decade, almost, I had a blog that the most visited post was one where I asked people to tell about being hurt in/by church and attached a picture of a pack of wolves shredding and devouring prey in a bloodbath. Couldn’t beat the readers and commenters back with a stick!

    Sadly, I think its a common phenom.

    X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We agree on all scores. It is common, and it is kept undercover. Most people tell us, “We don’t see the abuse you’re talking about” until they experience it themselves and then want to come talk to us to get some support and encouragement! We may borrow your idea to let people express their own pain and frustrations sometimes, and hope we can help encourage people to keep loyal to Jesus even if they walk out of the church – find a group of Believers to be supported by and serve God alongside!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My favorite bumper sticker says: Dear God, Save me from your followers.

        Sadly, I get it. We are among the worst offenders about hurting others… IN THE NAME OF JESUS no less. Sometimes that is the part that really adds on the pain. This really must be acknowledged and dealt with.

        However, I am a church guy. On this rock… Jesus says… I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!

        I believe him. His church is at the core of his answer to all the world’s problems. We need to get this right. We need to stop being part of the problem and be part of the solution(s). This observation puts us church people in a tough spot. The stakes are high all around.

        I am not prepared to launch a theological treatise or dissertation, but I sense this will require uncommon humility on the part of us Jesus lovers, uncommon patience with one another WHILE holding ourselves and others to account. This in turn sends me to my knees to pray.

        If I am off base on those offerings, I look forward to correction, but I think I see lots of room for improvement along these lines really.

        Thanx for the great post.

        X

        Liked by 1 person

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