Generational power and the Church

March 13th, 2017

A post detailing the 12 Reasons Millennials are Over Church has been making the rounds on my social feeds this week and is being widely praised by youngsters and sympathetic oldsters alike. The church has failed to adapt to Millennials' needs or include the voices of younger people, says the author.

Missing from the conversation is the fact that Boomers are experiencing a severe loss of cultural capital as Millennials come of age. On one hand we have (until recently) the largest, most powerful generation in American history. No generation in 241 years has inherited a greater horde of wealth, power, and unprecedented economic growth than the Boomers. On the other hand we have... their kids, another huge generation with enormous cultural capital and an unprecedented ability to connect across geography and create culture unbounded from traditional gatekeepers. In fact, Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the country’s largest age group, according to Census data.

This is a power struggle. Boomers know how to wield power and Millennials are just learning what it means to have some. We see this across every institution: the church, education, even in the CIA.

People usually don't just give up power. Many of the institutions Millennials are rejecting or seeking to change (Boomers taught us to disrespect institutional authority, by the way) were built from nothing by Boomers. It's no wonder they feel a little threatened when Millennials question the way those institutions function, or point out they're no longer relevant.

People usually don't just give up power, except Christians are to be a people who specifically live out a sacrificial love which inherently forfeits power for the good of others. We must forgive Boomers and Millennials alike for lacking spiritual formation the church rarely has sought to offer.

This article originally appeared on Disembodied Beard. Reprinted with permission.

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