I have long believed that the principle of simply restoring New Testament Christianity is more appealing to my generation (Millennials) than it is to any other recent generation. And the more I study the Millennial generation, the more my theory is validated.
Thom Rainer, a notable figure among the Southern Baptist denomination and president/CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, co-wrote,
“The secondary definition of ‘radical’ in most dictionaries we consulted was “going to the extreme, especially regarding change from accepted or traditional norms.” The most common definition is “going to the root or the origin,” a meaning we don’t hear espoused that often.
For Millennial Christians both definitions have merit. Compared to that which is taking place in most American churches, the Millennials are expecting the church to change from accepted or traditional norms. But these Millennials do not seek change for change sake. They have a keen desire to practice the Christianity of the Bible, to move the twenty-first century church to become more like the first-century church. In many ways therefore, these young adults seek to move the church to its roots or origin.
[After examining Acts 2:42-47] The radical nature of Millennial Christianity thus includes the desire to forfeit material gain for the sake of others, a fierce devotion to Bible study (“the apostles’ teaching”), an intense prayer life, and a total commitment to reach and minister to others in their communities and among the nations. What, then, must churches today do to attract these radical Christians?” (emp. added)
Did you catch that? Go ahead, read it again.
The above author, who doesn’t even believe in Restoration Christianity, has observed that my generation has a deep interest in going back to the plain and simple teachings of New Testament Christianity.
We can pretty much paraphrase the above paragraphs: “Millennials are looking for churches of Christ.”
That’s us! They’re looking for us! We are dedicated to the restoration of pure 1st century Christianity!
What, then, is the problem? Why aren’t Millennials exactly flocking to our congregations?
I don’t know.
But I do know that many of us have lost our focus. There are congregations of the Lord’s Church that are:
- Ashamed of their identity and devotion to their First Love.
- Fooling around with denominational & interdenominational ideas.
- Apathetic and have lost their zeal for the Lord.
- Disinterested in serving their communities.
- Lacking in their understanding of “the apostles’ teaching.”
If I had to put my finger on one reason why we aren’t busting at the seams with Millennials, I would say it is because we aren’t communicating who we are well enough (and because many of us have forgotten who we are).
Now, more than ever before, we need to be shouting to the world, “We are the Church of Christ!” Don’t give up. Millennials are reminding us that the fields are ripe for harvest (John 4:35).
 Page 258. The Millennials: Connecting America’s Largest Generation (2011). Thom Rainer & Jess Rainer. B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee.
Question: How Can We Better Communicate The Restoration Ideal?