Over the past few years, I have read several articles and reports about millennials leaving the church. This growing trend and acceptance has led to churches and leaders to aski questions like: What do the millennials want? Why are millennials leaving? Are we right in our assessments of the issue? What can we do to draw them back? At the end of the day, most of these assessments still end up being about the church structure (how we do or don’t “do church” and whether or not millennials fit into our way of doing things).
In spite of these conversations, I have seen mentoring be a great tool to draw millennials into relationships they may or may not know they need. For starters, I don’t believe the hype. Not all millennials are leaving the church. Furthermore, some believe that this mass exodus is culturally related and mostly a predicament in the “white” church. While there are always people leaving the church for any number of reasons, we must identify the danger in lumping large groups of people together and assessing them as a collective whole when their reasons for leaving or staying are probably as the diverse as the people making the decisions. Furthermore, to adequately address this issue, someone would have to clearly define “leaving” in a manner in which the rest of us can agree. Are we simply talking about church attendance? Or church membership? Or are we talking about those who faithfully commit to the fellowship of believers, even in a non-traditional way? Finally, we must individually consider: Am I called to focus energy and efforts on those who are leaving, while not paying attention to the millennials who remain?