DEAR MILLENNIAL BELIEVER
I get it. You want to be a part of a more modern church because church loves to hold on to old traditions. You’d love to be singing songs by Elevation Worship, but you still find yourself singing hymns on Sunday mornings. You want to be somewhere where the lighting is on point and the music is so loud that you can’t actually have a meaningful conversation with that new guest. You long to be a part of a church where everyone wears ripped black jeans and flannels so you can later post it on social media, telling the world how good the sermon was – (don’t forget to #twinning). You feel like you’re not growing because your Pastor talks about salvation every week, and you want to get into the deep “feel good” stuff – because well, you’ve already heard that message a million times and now you find that message inapplicable to you. You want to be a part of a church that tells you to dream and pursue God’s calling, but doesn’t step on your toes when it comes to sin. You’d love to join a church that can serve YOU and fit YOUR needs. ——————————————
I’m ashamed to, but I’ll be the first to say that ALL of those things (funny or not) have ran through my mind. As a young adult, I LOVE coffee. I wear skinny jeans and flannels almost every day, and I love Elevation Worship, Bethel, Jesus Culture.. etc. After attending more conferences than I can count throughout my middle school/high school years, my expectations and standards for a church service slowly rose without me even really noticing. I would go to conference and be blown away by the stage lights, the music, the worship band, and the speaker – and go home expecting it to be the same. Eventually I consistently left services at my home church disappointed, because it didn’t even compare to conference. In my eyes, “we weren’t as good.” And this was not a safe or Godly place to be at. I came to church without expecting God to move, as I sat in my chair and watched others serve. I stopped growing in my faith. I became so restless and upset that I finally had no other option.. I surrendered to God and asked Him to change my heart.. and did He. It hurt. It hurt a lot. He pruned and refined me from the inside out.. which DID NOT feel good. I had to take a long look in the mirror and deal with root issues that had caused me to put unrealistic expectations on everyone. On His church. On Him. But once that refining season had ended, I was completely transformed.
I started seeing Church differently. It was no longer, “are the staff and volunteers going to perform well today?” but rather, “What can I do to serve?” It wasn’t about the lighting, worship band, or speaker being on point, but rather it became about people encountering Christ. Once this transformation took place, I learned that a touch from God was not always in the newest songs or the greatest messages.. it was often a still small voice (and I didn’t have to wait until Sunday to hear it).
It wasn’t about me or my preferences, it was about Christ and being a part of building His church (which is a complete honor, by the way). Christ showed me the gifts that He had given me to help build His church and has provided me with SO many opportunities to do so.. AND I’VE GROWN more in my relationship with Christ in these past few years than I have in my life. I’ve realized that God has me right where He wants me, and He is using me to build His church where I am at. Now I am begging Him to keep me here because I have fallen so deeply in love with what He is doing in this church..
I know that the struggle is real. It’s hard. We are always longing for the “bigger and better..” But don’t run from where God has you just because it doesn’t feel like it fits you. You were uniquely made to change the atmosphere around you. Feeling “unfit” isn’t always a bad thing. Don’t stop using your gift where you’re at just because you don’t feel like you are growing. The reality is that God probably wants you in that uncomfortable place so that He can refine you and do a deep work IN you before He does something great THROUGH you.
It breaks my heart to see so many young people run from church and run from God’s calling on their life just because of personal preferences and agendas.. don’t run from it. Confront it. Address those issues deep down inside. After all, it is not and was never about us. We just get the honor of playing a part in what God is doing.
Time after time in the Bible, God set His chosen leaders aside for a time of growth and preparation for what was to come.. [Example: Moses].
So stay steady. Pursue God and His calling on your life. Learn from the leadership that He has surrounding you. Let everything that you touch be done with excellence. Let God refine you from the inside-out. Serve without hidden motives (remember that you’re blessed to be a blessing). Get up early and work hard. Let your heart’s cry be that His Kingdom come and His will be done.
If God has told you to stay at your church. Stay. It will feel awkward for a bit. It will be uncomfortable for a while.. but you are where you need to be.
As my mentor and Pastor told me,
“Don’t see this season of life as a waste of time. See it as a time that you cannot waste.”
Matt. 6:13 | Ephesians 4:11-12
1 Peter 5:10 | Exodus 2