By: Karl Nelson, Social Media Manager, @KarlNelsonJR on Twitter
Monday, Armstrong Williams hosted a “Youth and Morality” TownHall at the new Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. As usual, the dialogue was unprecedented and provided people with unique perspectives about the spiritual disconnect we’re currently seeing among millennials.
Why are millennials leaving the church?
Did you know that 59% of millennials raised in the church have dropped out?
Should the church do more to reclaim millennials?
Like generations in the past, will millennials return to church later in life?
Has church become too hypocritical?
Thirty-five percent of millennials cite the church’s irrelevance, hypocrisy and the moral failures of its leaders as reasons to check out of church. What should the church do to repair its image?
Are televangelist and mega pastors who flash their wealth hypocritical to the Bible’s message?
Are millennials less moral because they don’t attend church?
In the absence of church, is reason and logic enough to keep society intact?
Is this a new paradigm shift? If so, how should we govern ourselves as today’s youth and millennials will be tomorrow’s leaders?
Are we in need of a moral and spiritual revival to get our youth back on track?
These are some of the questions that were posed during Monday’s TownHall. It’s a conversation that we as a society should be having more.
The bottom line is everyone doesn’t have the same story or experience when it comes to spirituality. Like Dr. Devon Smith pointed out in a Facebook Live conversation on Tuesday, not everyone grew up in the church. Not every family attends church together on Christmas and Easter. There are young people who consider themselves agnostic — meaning they believe in a higher being, but they might not refer to that higher being as the God that most Christians claim to follow. That's another great point that Dr. Smith brought up.
In my case, I grew up in the church. I have parents who have been heavily involved in Christian ministry since I was a child, but that’s not everyone’s reality.
How about those who don’t grow up in the church? Those who have never been taught about God and how great His love for us is?
Don’t you think that those individuals will have questions?
I believe that’s where many young people are today. They have questions. They have doubts. It’s not that there aren’t millennials who want to learn more about God. I believe if more young people knew God the way me and other believers do then they too would want to experience God’s grace and mercy, but they need people to step in that gap and build a bridge. Judging a person because of their lack of faith is not the answer. It’s about having more open dialogue about topics such as this one.
Youth and morality are not going to come together as one overnight, especially when young people are constantly opening up their social media apps and seeing all the hate, senseless violence, and lies that are currently plaguing this country and the world in general.
That’s where God’s true followers have to step in though. I’m not talking about the hypocrites and those who are disingenuous. I’m talking about the prayer warriors. The evangelists who are enduring persecution for the sake of their faith. Those are the people who have to continue to go beyond the four walls in the church and get out there and touch the community. Our communities are full of people from all walks of life who are hurting and who are in need of God’s love — a love that they don’t even realize they have traveling with them 24/7.
That being said, I don’t want people to lose sight of the fact that there are young people who practice “moral striving,” a phrase often used by Armstrong Williams.
That’s right. Let’s not forget that there are many millennials out there who do strongly believe in God. For me, that’s a realization I came to after attending Christian conferences like Acquire the Fire, a nearly 30-year Ministry that reached millions of young people, and churches like Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Maryland, and Hillsong in Times Square.
Walking the streets of New York City, you wouldn’t think you’re walking among other believers, but when I walked into a Hillsong church service in the middle of Times Square and saw hundreds of young people on fire for God, that was a reminder to me to never judge a book by its cover.
The fact of the matter is we’ve gotten away from our morals as a society. There’s no question about that, but I’m one who believes that it’s ultimately going to be the youth who contribute to us getting back on track morally. However, for that to be done, evangelists, both young and old, must be genuine when stepping into the gap to build a bridge between nonbelievers and believers, and they must understand that young people will have questions and doubts about the notion that there is a God and what that means for them.
Having a live TownHall is a great start in regard to educating our young people on spirituality. Now the conversation must continue to dig deeper and deeper in order to bring about solutions. | KMN