Millennials and "Big God"

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How big is your God?

If you did not already believe in God, if you did not already attend a local church, and if perhaps you did not draw a paycheck as a pastor or ministry leader, would the God spoken of and witnessed to in your congregation be one that you would want to worship? Would you respond in awe, wonder, and fascination at God’s wisdom, power, and grace? Or would you shrug, and say, “ho-hum?”

Writing for the Aspen Group, author Drew Dyck argues that churches wrongly assume Millennials are looking for superficialities to attract them, such as a cooler pastor or a hipper worship service, or syncretism, a way for Christianity to “get with the times” by altering key doctrines or downplaying certain supernatural elements of the faith. Dyck thinks both approaches are wrong.

Instead, Millennials are looking for winsomeness over combativeness in Christian witness, intergenerational relationships, and a loving and holy God, a God who is beautiful enough to compel but transcendent enough to be worshipped.

Dyck is right. If churches want to reach Millennials they do need to alter their tone, but not the truth. They need to work at being a fellowship, and not just a religious association of acquaintances. And they need to preach the gospel in such a way that shows that the love of God is a holy and righteous kind of love that is big, powerful, and inspiring.

Dyck writes, “[W]hen we portray God as a cosmic buddy, we lose them (they have enough friends). When we tell them that God will give them a better marriage and family, it’s white noise (they’re delaying marriage and kids or foregoing them altogether). When we tell them they’re special, we’re merely echoing what educators, coaches, and parents have told them their whole lives. But when we present a ravishing vision of a loving and holy God, it just might get their attention and capture their hearts as well.”

So how big is your God? How does your proclamation of God compel those in your congregation to desire to lay down their lives for Jesus and for the gospel so that they might truly find life? How does the good news that you preach naturally lead to the making of disciples, compelling those who hear it to want to be with Jesus and to learn his way? How does your exposition of the Scriptures help people put off the old self and put on the new, so that they might walk in holiness of life?

Don’t fall into the trap of superficiality. Settle for nothing less than the substantive. Ask God for help. And invite all with your reach to join you as you passionately pursue relationship with a big, mighty, holy, and transcendent God.

Ben SimpsonComment