Calling Millennials to Stay in the Church
Author Caleb Breakey in his book, "Called to Stay," issues the call for Millennials--those in their teens to thirties--to "stop running and start doing what Jesus has commanded of us."
Highlighting the fact that Millennials are leaving the church in record numbers, Breakey himself has chosen to stay in the church. His desire is to humbly be an infiltrator who ignites change from inside the church by living an "all-out, cross-carrying, fully committed follower of Jesus" in order to "shift Christian culture back to Jesus in a way that's real and sustainable" (p. 16-17).
He calls other Millennials to do the same. Basing his premise on Hebrews 10:24-25, the author considers it the job of Millennial believers to infiltrate the church rather than leave it -- "to help brothers and sisters embrace the radical call of following Jesus" (pp. 24-25).
I admire Breakey's passion for the church and unity within the body, and I applaud his desire to see Millennials remain in the church as agents of change rather than giving up on her. As a Gen X-er, I have experienced frustration with the church, too, and have chosen to stay, to follow Jesus whole-heartedly, and to call other believers to do the same. While I agree with Breakey's stance, I'm afraid the language of "infiltration" may be a barrier for some as it seems to set up an "us vs. them" mentality. I would hate for that to cause some difficulties between older and younger generations.
At the same time, Breakey does speak of humility, child-like faith, and right motives. And he does encourage potential infiltrators to intentionally and prayerfully "dig deep" by:
- honestly assessing how their lives reflects the commands of Jesus,
- allowing their hearts to break where it needs breaking, and
- praying for restoration (p. 63).
Perhaps one of the best parts of the book was the "Follower Manifesto" on pages 67-71, reminding believers what's true of them in Christ--to really meditate on their identity in Christ.
Not only does Breakey call Millennials to stay, but he gives them practical ways to do just that in chapters seven and eight. He also leaves room for those exceptional situations where it may not be good to "stay," outlining some principles to help Millennials evaluate such situations. I can't say enough about how he encourages leavers to speak well of the church instead of tear her down. He also encourages leavers to look for a new church that loves God despite her faults, not a church that meets their needs. I like that perspective, because to often leavers look for new churches based on what it offers "me" rather than how "I" can use my gifts to serve God in the body of Christ.
True to his identity as a Millenial, Breakey offers opportunities for readers to engage with the text, other readers and himself through chapter videos, free downloads, Facebook conversations, and even "Tweetables." I applaud these opportunities for readers to join the conversation, to interact with each other, and to process what the principles mean for them in their own context. My only disappointment was that I was unable to locate the downloadable "Follower Manifesto" touted at the end of chapter 4.
If you're considering leaving the church, read Breakey's "Called to Stay" and enter the conversation. You might be surprised what God calls you to do.
Published 15 months ago by DisciplemomLL