If churches advertised fewer programs and more of Jesus, maybe Millennials would stick around.
If you, like me, are a Millennial Christian, you might find it difficult to get motivated about church work. It seems like people leave church on Sunday with just one thing — a church bulletin advertising a variety of special groups, service projects, socials, speakers, and fundraisers.
Presumably, these church activities help us achieve holiness. Yet with so many programs to publicize, churches often neglect to advertise Jesus as the way to holiness. Busy-ness can make people so entrenched in what they do that they might forget why they do it — and become insincere. And Millennials, born into a digital world of constant advertisement, have a highly developed ability to detect what is authentic and what is BS.
Despite our skepticism, Millennials can be motivated. We’re just motivated by things other than stale, institutionalized religion. For example, studies indicate more than 50 percent of Millennials are willing to accept a 15 percent pay cut to work at a meaningful company that matches their ideals.
Maybe we aren’t motivated to continue walking in the faith by churches because we don’t believe they offer us any real value or we think religion is irrelevant in furthering social good. But that doesn’t have to be true, despite how it seems in a swath of modern churches.
Here are five truths that I think will motivate Millennial Christians in their spiritual walk:
1. Holiness is possible.
Believing that our ambitions are attainable is essential to motivation. Motivation begins with ambition, but ambitions without expectancy rapidly come to a halt. If you don’t believe it’s possible to achieve your ambition, your motivation will be stunted. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians focus on their sin to such a degree that they don’t see holiness as something attainable — and so they fizzle out, give up.
But in one of my favorite books, Rediscover Jesus, Matthew Kelly suggests that holiness is indeed something we can obtain. In fact, Kelly describes every moment as an opportunity for holiness. He explains, “A holy moment is a moment when you are being the person God created you to be, and you are doing what you feel God is calling you to do in that moment.” Every single moment may not be holy, but that doesn’t mean none of them can be.
2. Relationship with Jesus takes consistent effort.
Even with ambition and expectancy, our motivation must be sustained. Sustaining motivation takes effort. We cannot wait to feel motivated before we make that effort. As it is with every other relationship in life that takes consistency and effort, so it is with our relationship with Jesus.
Here’s a tip: start small in your communication with Jesus, but be consistent. Pray one simple prayer at the same time every night for 40 days. This effort is feasible for very busy people, and the consistency breeds sustained motivation that can eventually form into a habit.
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