I have noticed that my Facebook feed that there is great concern over how to keep amillennials in the Church. My own district in the LC-MS has identified this as the prime concern upon the minds of the clergy and laypeople. Let me offer three ways to keep amillennials in the Church.
1) Keep them away from false teachers.
Amillennials are really only likely to leave the church if they become enamored with false teachers like Lahaye and Scofield who embrace false eschatologies. Such false teachers encourage people to use such questionable interpretative methods such as:
- Using the unclear passages in the Scriptures to lampoon the clear passage in Scripture. Deny the clear words of Jesus through speculation into the imagery of Revelation.
- Choosing the interpretation most likely to sell books .and movies. Amillennialism does not lend itself to a sequel. It is a one and done deal by definition.
- Focusing on current events more than the events of the past such as the death of Jesus on the cross. Put the New York Times in one column and the funny parts of Ezekiel in another and have fun.
Such terrible interpretive methods can lead people to embrace all sorts of false beliefs such as:
- I don’t need the church. Jesus and I are fine. I am too busy reading the news looking for the fulfillment of ancient prophecies to come to the gathering.
- I think meditating on the basics of the faith is boring. I would rather try to develop my own formula for end time dating
- John Hagee is my homeboy.
Such beliefs lead Amillennials away from the Church.
2) Don’t outsource their instruction in the faith. Parents must teach their children.
Amillennials believe correctly about the end times. However, that can lead parents and pastor alike to think they are prepared to be thrown out into the ever-changing waves of Christian writings, movies, and music. They can believe that since they understand that Jesus will return once and all things will be made new, they will also be able to swim through all of the stuff sold in the Christian book store.
However, trends have a way of pulling people under quickly. Soon even Amillennials are weighed down by all the things floating around out in those waters. They can be tricked into thinking the faith is about hipster pastors, heart-tugging plots, and a killer 5 word chorus repeated over and over again.
Parents must keep their Amillennial kids grounded in the scriptures daily. They must make use of aids like the catechism in order to guard their children against much of what is sold in your local Christian bookstore. They should fill their minds with the awesome stories of the Scriptures and their ear with songs that calm the conscience with truth about Jesus. They must take them weekly where Jesus is in water, words, bread and wine.
Amillennials left to their own devices will usually end up alone. Someone will find the right temptation to keep them away from Jesus. And that is the definition of alone.
2) Call them away from sin and to Jesus in his Church
If Amillennials are constantly called to repentance and faith in Jesus, they will remain in church. Amillennials understand that Jesus’ imminent return means that they are always to be ready for his return. If reminded of their failure to keep God’s holy law and understand that Jesus comes to them in His Church with his grace and mercy, there will remain. They will not leave because they will understand that to be without Jesus is to be left in sin and woefully unprepared for Jesus’ return.
Failure to do this might leave Amillennials trusting in their own holiness. This might lead them to believe that they should sit at home posting psuedo-Christian memes on their Facebook feed manifesting their superior holiness and understanding into the scriptures. It might also lead them to stay away their congregations in order to not be dragged down by those who are not as good or wise as them. Such trust in one’s own piety can only lead people away from Jesus and his church.
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I hope these thoughts will help people consider how to keep Amillennials in the church. Keep them daily aware of their need for Jesus and they will stay in the Church.
What? People are worried not about keeping Amillennials in the church? It is Millennials? Well, shoot. Thankfully, the same rules apply. Jesus is the way to keep anyone in the Church that will remain. Things that will certainly not keep Millennials in the true Church include:
- Removing five overused phrases in the church
- Changing you worship to be more exciting
- Making your sanctuary more traditional
- Getting a younger, cooler pastor
- Leadership training
- Taking kids to a stellar youth conference once a year
- Being comtemporary, relevant, authentic, non-judgmental, or whatever.
We preach Jesus to sinners. Those who have ears will remain.