I'm going to start adding articles I write for my church's newsletter and blog to my personal blog so I can keep track of them.
In David Kinnaman's book, You Lost Me, he examines the reasons over 5,000 Millenials give for why so many young people leave the Church. The responses can be distilled into six reasons. Millenials find the Church overprotective, shallow, anti-science, repressive, exclusive, and doubtless (or hostile to doubt). Although each of these things needs to be addressed, one of the first things he mentions in his book is that young people feel a sense of alienation within their churches. The alienation feeds into each of these other areas and I think it is the first step in dealing with the issue.
Although there is a time to separate teens from adults and focus on how Scripture relates to their lives, there is also a time for teens to be with adults and to see what it means for us to be a community centered on Christ. A majority of the young adults interviewed for Kinnaman's book reported never having an adult friend outside of their parents in their church. Making disciples can only happen in the context of relationship. When we fail to build inter-generational relationships within the church, we will continue to fail to make disciples.
There are aspects of the six reasons millenials are leaving the Church that fall on us as the Church to address and to improve. There are also aspects that have been addressed, but Millenials don't know any adults who can show them how they've been addressed.
Great things happen when the older Christians befriend and train younger Christians. Let's recapture this important aspect of discipleship. If you don't have a ministry to serve in yet, consider dedicating your time to helping a child or teen see what it means to follow Christ. And let's all make sure to include the younger part of our congregation in all aspects of our community.