(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
Series: Characteristics of the Jesus Movement for today
7. It got the attention of the wider culture and was initially perceived curiously as something outside institutional church structures.
Millennials, to a large extent, are not attending church. Church has become too distant and too much of a slick production. Millennials do not like “slick;” they appreciate honesty and sincerity more. They are also isolated and lonely and the idea of attending a church where they could disappear and no one would notice is not what they are after. They do not want to be part of a nameless, faceless crowd in the dark with the spotlight on someone else; they want to be seen and counted. The church today is not meeting their needs.
This is one of the reasons we want to be the voice of Christ to the Millennials. We have not been infected by the things that have infected the church, mainly because we have a different platform. We are online and our relationships, no matter how many people there are, are still one person at a time. Through chats, comments and zoom meetings people can become as involved and as close as they want. Plus, we have contact with those who have boots on the ground and can facilitate face-to-face relationships. The important thing is that there are many windows and doors through which people can enter here and find what they need. We have a porous platform and can reach those who don’t feel part of a family.
We are also seeking to learn how to see things through each other’s eyes. This brings us much closer to each other than most people experience anywhere. This happens through getting familiar with each other’s stories. Our friend Robbie Goldman from Dry Bones Denver suggested a great technique for this that they use among their community of Millennials and GenZ people on the streets of Denver. Two people write something personal about their own story and then they read their stories back to each other, each one taking the other’s story and reading it back in the first person, as if it were their story. Now that’s looking through each other’s eyes. Imagine hearing your story read to you by a Millennial or a Boomer, taking your place as they read.
We all need deeper relationships. Millennials are actively seeking these types of relationships. We can help, and we can especially help connecting Millennials with Boomers. Imagine what we could all learn through looking through each other’s eyes.
This is just one small way we can crack the barriers that exist between people of different generations. The church should be majoring on deepening interpersonal relationships like this. That’s what spreading the gospel and discipling is all about. In the Jesus Movement, this happened everywhere. They didn’t need an institutional church to facilitate this; they were discovering, wherever they were, even if there were only two of them, that they were the church — the body of Christ and Jesus was there in their midst, just as He promised. You don’t need an institution or a building for that.