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United Methodists Wearing A Millennial Evangelical Face

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For a few years now, I have been puzzled by why Rachel Held Evans remains popular among many younger evangelicals and why the secular media finds her credible. I was struck by Evans’ recent CNN article “Why Millennials Are Leaving The Church.” When reading the post it becomes evident that Evans is not talking about the “holy catholic church,” but a narrow subculture of conservative American evangelicals. The post does not address why young adults in America are leaving the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, broad evangelical, nor mainline churches. Moreover, after reading this opinion piece it became clear to me that what Evans is saying Millennials want from “the church” is fully found in the United Methodist Church (UMC).

Evans rightly argues that conservative evangelical churches will not be able to bait-and-switch young adults with “cool” gimmicks in order to keep them in the doors. Historically speaking, American Christians have always panicked about teens and young adults leaving the church. For example, anxiety over fledgling youth attendances in churches served as the catalyst for the creation of the YMCA and the Boy Scouts. In the 1960s, making church cool led to the introduction of jazz into youth group culture in many Catholic and Protestant churches. After making this good point Evans claims that Millennials are leaving the (evangelical) church because Jesus cannot be “found” in it. This is the point where the post takes an odd ecclesiastical turn.

Evans says that what Millennials really want from “the church” is:

[N]ot a change in style but a change in substance. We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against. We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers. We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation. We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities. We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.

Without question, all of these things are important to consider in 2013. There was something about this list, however, that sounded vaguely familiar to me. Before joining the Presbyterian Church In America, I spent just over 21 years in the United Methodist Church. I had great years there and know the ethos very well. When I read the CNN piece it hit me: Evans is saying nothing particularly provocative nor even progressive; she simply represents a standard UMC critique of conservative evangelicalism. Given Evans’ presuppositions, I am not certain she could list a single objection to what the UMC believes and practices. For the record, I have nothing against the UMC, but I do find it odd if Millennials, who are leaving evangelicalism and passionately seeking the kind of church Evans describes, don’t join a mainline denomination like the United Methodist Church. The UMC embodies everything Evans says Millennials want.

The UMC is outside of the culture wars. It has no conflicts with science and faith and clearly teaches what they are for instead of against. The UMC is a place where LGBT friends are welcomed. Moreover, if anyone knows anything about Wesleyanism, you know that Methodists have a deep emphasis on personal holiness and social action. Again, the Jesus that Evans wants to find is waiting for her and her followers in the UMC.

Again, herein lies the core question: Why doesn’t Evans, and others who embrace her critique of “the church,” simply encourage Millennials, who do not believe Jesus “is found” in their churches, to join churches like the UMC? If someone is passionate about Jesus and is truly looking for him, but doesn’t find him in one church, wouldn’t it stand to reason that a genuine search would lead that person to another church where it is believed Jesus actually is? It makes me wonder if the Evans critique is not about something else.

One of the many blind spots in Evans’ entire project is that young evangelicals are not leaving evangelical churches to join mainline churches like the UMC, they are leaving the church altogether in many cases. Evans’ list does not help us understand that phenomena much at all. In fact, even the UMC, with all Evans’ lauded attributes, is hemorrhaging. The bottom line is that most American Christian denominations are declining across the board, especially among their millennial attendees, and it would require a fair amount of hubris to attempt to explain the decline across America’s 350,000 congregations.

I do not have the answer to my original question but I do know that Evans and her fans seem to long for United Methodism and should be encouraged to join the denomination, and other mainline churches like it, since they do not believe the churches they criticize have Jesus. Criticizing evangelical churches on CNN for not being essentially United Methodist seems bizarre and, perhaps, reveals that what Evans actually represents is nothing but American United Methodism in evangelical whiteface.

Anthony Bradley Anthony Bradley, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics in the Public Service Program at The King's College in New York City and serves as a Research Fellow at the Acton Institute. Dr. Bradley lectures at colleges, universities, business organizations, conferences, and churches throughout the U.S. and abroad. His books include: Liberating Black Theology: The Bible and the Black Experience in America (2010),  Black and Tired: Essays on Race, Politics, Culture, and International Development (2011),  The Political Economy of Liberation: Thomas Sowell and James Cone of the Black Experience (2012), Keep Your Head Up: America's New Black Christian Leaders, Social Consciousness, and the Cosby Conversation (2012), Aliens in the Promised Land:  Why Minority Leadership Is Overlooked in White Christian Churches and Institutions (forthcoming, 2013). Dr. Bradley's writings on religious and cultural issues have been published in a variety of journals, including: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Detroit News, and World Magazine. Dr. Bradley is called upon by members of the broadcast media for comment on current issues and has appeared C-SPAN, NPR, CNN/Headline News, and Fox News, among others. He studies and writes on issues of race in America, hip hop, youth culture, issues among African Americans, the American family, welfare, education, and modern slavery. From 2005-2009, Dr. Bradley was Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO where he also directed the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute.   Dr. Bradley holds Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from Clemson University, a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Westminster Theological Seminary.  Dr. Bradley also holds an M.A. in Ethics and Society at Fordham University.


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  • Andrew Orlovsky

    Good post Anthony,

    For someone who always seems to be bashing Evangelicals for being anti-science, Rachel Held Evans always seems to be in the habit of making up facts. While it that some Evangelicals have left their churches because they see them as too right wing, the number of Evangelicals in America has remained steady over the years while the number of mainline Protestants has hit a extremely sharp decline. She talks about the high “BS meter” that millenials have and that may be true. But ironically thinks she can still convince them that it is possible to be a Christian, while simply rejecting parts of the Bible that make you uncomfortable. Christianity is not going to reach young people by being cool, whether its via more hip worship music or a theology that sees Jesus as a tolerant hippie.

    • ronfurg

      Thanks Andrew. Jesus wasn’t looking for a bunch of good-time buddies. He wanted disciples. His way is a narrow way and few there be….

  • Joe. perfectly stated.

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  • ZackHunt

    I’m not trying to be antagonistic here, but you realize this post is the definition of a straw man argument, right?

    You claim Rachel is talking about the United Methodist Church, which she wasn’t and never mentioned, then proceed to criticize her for criticizing evangelical churches for not all being United Methodist, again something she neither said not even mentioned.

    I agree there are all sorts of issues at play that Rachel didn’t address, but it was blog post, not a dissertation. If you want to criticize her, or anybody else, by all means do so, but criticize what she actually said, not the words (or ideas) you put into her mouth.

    • Anthony Bradley

      No Zack, a straw man argument begins by misrepresenting someone’s position. I, in no way, mispresented her position. If fact, Rachel said my critique was “fair.” I quoted her position, as stated, and then described why her remedy sounds more like United Methodism than she may realize. That’s not a straw man.

      I don’t claim that Rachel is talking about the Methodist. My claim is that her conclusions fit well within a Methodist framework quite nicely. It seems that, perhaps, you didn’t read it too carefully. I criticized her for what she actually said, hence the block quote, and what I described in the paragraph following.

  • Josh Craddock

    If anything, the UMC lacks Jesus…. I’m sure Rachel Held Evans and her followers will happily find the emasculated Christ made in their own image there.

    • Wondershot

      Because Christ’s masculinity has something to do with it?

    • Jason Douglas Greene

      and you are who to make that determination? Not so bright Mr Craddock…

  • Paul

    Although I’m a millenial who has left fundamentalism to become a United Methodist, I thought you might be interested in reading Rachel Held Evans’ thoughts on why she has not done the same:

    • Anthony Bradley

      Thanks Paul, I have read it and her post was about the mainline and not about the UMC in particular. The UMC church is much more moderate than the all of the other mainline denominations.

  • Anthony Bradley

    Thanks Dalaina, but that post does not address the UMC in particular. There is a big difference between the UMC and the UCC, PC(USA), ELCA, and the Episcopal church. Big difference. This is why I used the UMC in particular.

    • Morgan Trotter

      I attended the UMC weekly up until age 12, then our family converted to the PCUSA in the mid-’70s because the preaching in the UMC churches in our city was so bland and devoid of any biblical content (and believe it or not we found more biblical preaching in the PCUSA). Then I went to a UMC college for 4 years and attended UMC churches regularly with my friends, though I went back to the PCUSA toward the end of college and eventually was ordained as a pastor in the PCUSA. Then after leaving the PCUSA over theological issues in 2000, for a couple years I played guitar for a contemporary service in a UMC church while also attending a non-denominational church. I can tell you that the difference you claim between the UMC and other mainline denominations is not at all apparent to the average churchgoer. To the average person, the UMC is just like all the other mainline denominations. And I can tell you that I consistently found the UMC to be the most bland church I have ever attended apart from maybe the Episcopal church. Rachel Evans said she wants a church with some evangelical “fire in the belly” and I have never found any such fire in the modern-day UMC church. Just bland and boring, without much substance.

      • Anthony Bradley

        Morgan, the next time you’re in Atlanta drop by the church I was raised in–Ben Hill UMC–and I promise you that it will neither be bland nor boring.

        • Morgan Trotter

          Maybe that’s true, Anthony. We have a large UMC church here in my city that has a fairly vibrant contemporary service complete with an altar prayer time that I found pretty moving. I have to say it broke through my stereotype of UMC churches a bit. Maybe this is just a personal thing, but one of my biggest criticisms of the UMC preaching I’ve heard over the years is that it is rarely ever challenging. It’s almost always warm fuzzy preaching, with heartwarming stories, and pretty light on engagement with the biblical text. This part held true even in the more vibrant church I mentioned above. The thing that drew me to Presbyterian preaching was that even when it was more liberal, it was usually more substantial, with significant engagement of the biblical text, including dealing with problems in the text, and often offered a challenge to the listener that might step on your toes or make you a little uncomfortable, but that made you think more deeply about your life and faith. For the last 13 years I’ve attended evangelical or charismatic churches, and what I appreciate there is also preaching that is both biblical and challenging. I have rarely found this in the UMC churches I’ve attended over the years, which have been many.

          • Stephen Hale

            I’m fairly new to the UMC (and starting ordination track) but have thought this as well.

  • Anthony Bradley

    Hannah, I think your narcissism point is especially insightful and important. Thank you!

  • Anthony Bradley

    Hi Alexander, pay attention to what she actually said, “drawn to.” My question is this: if drawn, why not leave completely. Ms. Held-Evans cannot justify why she stops at being drawn given the particular list things mention that she claims Millennials really want. Also, there is no migration. As the data actually indicates evangelical Millennials are leaving the church altogether. A mass migration would be great because it would plug the hemorrhaging of the UMC. That would be wonderful. Alexander if you can produce data that demonstrates that Millennial evangelicals are joining the UMC or other mainline churches we would all love to see it.

    • CitizenWhy

      Anglican churches near college campuses are attracting a large number of ex-Evangelicals. They like the Eucharist, and they see the Eucharist in the Bible and in early Christianity.

  • Anthony Bradley

    Thanks Amanda. Your last paragraph is extremely insightful!! WOW!!!

  • Anthony Bradley

    Thanks for commenting. You’re welcome. There are lots of great things happening in the UMC!!

  • Anthony Bradley

    Chris, “whiteface” is a metaphor for mimicking. It’s a literary device.

    • I should’ve known that! Thanks. But let’s not pretend it’s an utterly innocuous invocation. Is it not a metaphor used primarily as a negative foil to peoples or contexts of color? Out of curiosity, is there an example of its use as a literary device used by a literary figure?

      Perhaps I’m missing the obvious: is it simply the African-American equivalent to the caucasian’s metaphoric “blackface”?

      • Pedat Ebediyah

        You should do some Googling, because you’re woefully out of context.

        “Is it not a metaphor used primarily as a negative foil to peoples or contexts of color?”

        Absolutely NOT.

        “Out of curiosity, is there an example of its use as a literary device used by a literary figure?”

        Google it.

        “Perhaps I’m missing the obvious: is it simply the African-American equivalent to the caucasian’s metaphoric “blackface”?


        Please don’t go there…good grief. Use your resources.

        • The Oxford English Dictionary defines whiteface as “white or light-coloured make-up” worn “by a black actor playing a white character,” with, yes, the express purpose of mimicry. But it is not an innocuous reference.

          C’mon, man. Perhaps you’d do well to get beyond Google.

        • The Oxford English Dictionary defines whiteface as “white or light-coloured make-up” worn “by a black actor playing a white character.”

          Surely, that’s not utterly innocuous. Speaking about grief, perhaps you ought to get beyond googling, Pedat.

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  • Morgan Trotter

    Rachel actually addressed the question of why millennials are not flocking to mainline churches here:

    • Anthony Bradley

      Thanks Morgan, I have read it and her post was about the mainline and not about the UMC in particular. The UMC church is much more moderate than the all of the other mainline denominations.

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  • I’m 29 and UMC. I was raised Baptist and my husband was raised Presby– both of us in very conservative, regulation-based families and congregations. We chose our UMC church for a variety of reasons, but foremost was its rigorous Scriptural emphasis and refusal to twist the Bible to mean whatever the polls are showing this week. I realize that not all UMC congregations are like ours, but we would not attend one that wasn’t. We do appreciate some of the factors mentioned in the block quote from Evans, but I am uncomfortable with her speaking on behalf of millennials. She seems to be looking for a church that interprets the Bible in whatever way she has deemed to be socially expedient. I don’t want a church to be made in my image or in the image of our culture; I want a church that is striving to emulate the image of God.

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  • Susan

    This world doesn’t need to see a Methodism movement. They need to see a Jesus movement. Don’t be a part of creating more division in The Church. If other faith communities could stand to be reminded to focus their efforts back on what it’s always been about, Jesus, wouldn’t you want to encourage them instead of saying, “Well, us Methodists, we do it right!”

  • hlj3rd

    “For a few years now, I have been puzzled by why Rachel Held Evans remains popular among many younger evangelicals and why the secular media finds her credible.”

    Uh, because other bloggers (like you) keep validating her and others like her by giving her views space on their sites and using her material as bait to draw hits to them? Why would she not remain popular when so many others are seemingly taking her seriously and reposting her all over the place? Is this not simply the Kardashian effect within the christian blogosphere? She only has a voice because she demands to have one, not because she is actually saying anything novel or worth hearing.

    If the “deep thinkers” and “thought leaders” of the faith would stop feeding the vanity and self-importance of the millennial / YRR / New Calvinist mouthpieces, they will go away in search of some other vain form of self validation. Christ died for these poor, unfulfilled narcissists and he alone can, and will, gather them to himself.

    It is time for the rest of us to stop pandering to them as if the lack of their presence or their ideas in our congregations in any way diminishes the legitimacy and quality of our worship. If there truly is “nothing new under the sun” then let’s act like mature adults and refuse to pander to the temper tantrums of our immature brothers and sisters. If they choose to leave, then they were never on board to start. Let us allow God to do his work of calling them, gathering them, giving them to Christ and sealing them in the Holy Spirit and let us focus on doing our work of faithfully preaching the whole counsel of God, administering the sacraments properly and worshiping in spirit and in truth.

  • disqus_gwK9wrb5gE

    “I have been puzzled by why … the secular media finds her

    Answer: Because she’s a Christian who looks down her nose at large swaths of other Christians and parrots pretty much the same put-downs about those backwards Christians as the secular media. (They love that sort of thing!)

  • I think part of the problem (as to why millennials aren’t actually GOING to another church, but instead are just leaving the one they came from to go to no church at all) is that when you’re raised in one culture or tradition, there’s a lot of familial pressure to stick with that and/or to see all other culture or traditions as “wrong”. I know in my family at least, leaving the Baptist church (which is what I grew up with) would be frowned upon but it would be much worse (in my family’s and church member’s eyes) to become a Methodist or a Catholic or a Presbyterian. There’s very much an “us vs. them” mentality within denominations, despite what you may think.

  • CL

    Hi Anthony,

    Thanks for taking the time to write this article. However, my experience in the UMC (I’m now in the RCA as person who has one foot in Gen X and one in Millennial) was different. I served on staff of one of the largest UMC churches in the US working with Millennials and I can tell you that they were not coming to our church. Less than 5% of the congregation (3,500 – 4,000 members) was Millennial. When talking and working with other staff members from churches our size at the LCI (Large Church Initiative) and consulting with them, I found they too had a low percentage of Millennials attending.
    Here’s what I did see. Our congregation was progressive in its theology and practice. I saw a lot of Millennials running from our “high church” tradition to non-denominational large churches in the area OR they would attend the young adult small group meetings, but wouldn’t connect with the Sunday morning experience. I think this is mainly because of our authentic conversations.
    Here’s what I’m driving at, Millennials, in my experience and opinion, are either just completely leaving the church universal period or heading to churches that have no or loose denominational ties.
    Unfortunately, the theory of Millennials heading to UMC churches is discouraging to me as I have not seen in the last decade very much effort put into reaching out to that generation by that denomination. I can only speak to my experience though.
    Again, thanks for taking the time to write this article.

  • Felicia

    The Methodist Church has been deep into the culture wars. They have lobbied heavily for years for abortion rights. I don’t really think the UMC really IS the place Rachel describes she wants to be.

  • Snarly_Yow

    I really think the problem with many leftist Christians is that they are not searching for a place to belong, their place to belong is with others complaining about the Church. They are not searching for a group or for fellowship, they already have it. They could easily join the UMC or UCC or, in many cases, Unitarians. But their “clique” is an the “anti-church,” the “nowhere church,” and the “I don’t belong” church. To join a church would be to give up their already claimed identity. Rachel, and those similarly affected, have no real desire to go to church at all; simply attending anywhere would rock their very comfortable boat.

    There’s no question that we are purging the young and for, likely, many of the reasons Rachel lists. Yet, gaining them back seems unlikely because their position is so rooted in a “not belonging” group think.

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  • CitizenWhy

    There are many, many unchurched young people who believe in Christ. Many meet in small groups for Bible studies. Many like, or would like, home churches, lay lead, no formal leader, like a book reading group. What they don’t want is to have to listen to anyone with a hierarchical status, a so-called special knowledge about “theology.” They don’t want church buildings and they do not want to be with the people who attend churches.

  • CitizenWhy

    Narcissism? Have you ever taken a look at many preachers and many of the people who attend churches. Their narcissism oozes. They are individually narcissistic and narcissistic about their cult and their political party and their country. They worship themselves individually and collectively.

    • hannah anderson

      Absolutely agree–narcissism is not limited to any one particular group. But it is also simplistic to assume that millennials are by definition immune to it.

  • CitizenWhy

    Strange. I’ve read many demographic reports demonstrating with data that Evangelical churches face a big decline when the WWII members leave. They give the money. They attend. Without them many churches will close.

    Some churches do manage to attract young people. The Swedish Evangelical Church in America is one, but they generally do not call themselves by that name.

  • Richard G. Shuster

    In reference to Ms. Evans recent commentary;

    Christians do not have to live in the either/or way of life you have described. Most Christians I know balance their lives with both Faith and secular knowledge. As a Christian one does not require isolation from society, scholarly endeavor, or rational discussion. Although I hope not your position, the dialogue you use is similar to the one found in counter-culture argumentation, to develop and build anti-Christian positions and attacks against fundamental belief and faith central to real Christian teachings. These anti-Christian arguments are part of the dilution of faith in many Christian communities today. Many pseudo- New-Age-Christian Churches are using such argumentation and the result, they are watering-down the Word of God and demoralizing their own congregations.

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  • thank you for this. amen.

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  • Emily R

    I want to quit the culture war, so that makes me apostate? Sure, because Jesus came to rally his followers to change the world through political systems…

    Sorry, I just couldn’t not comment.

    PS: The reasons for millennials leaving the church that Rachel lists are not just something she made up; they come from Barna and other research groups. Her interpretation of this data is up for debate, sure, but I don’t think this data itself is really contestable unless you are arguing that a whole lot of millennials were dishonest with Barna pollsters (or themselves). Which is a possibility, I suppose.

    • Cris S

      The sample size and the sampling method on which the research was made, makes a huge difference.

      • Emily R

        This is true; there are no unbiased studies. But–can you suggest a better method for this type of fact-gathering? Barna is pretty well-respected in the polling world. I daresay the author of this article has probably cited Barna studies to back up his points. If we’re going to throw them out, let’s throw them out and be honest and consistent.

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  • Anthony,

    Having read this over and over, I’m not sure what you are trying to accomplish in this post. In fact, I find it quite strange. It sounds like you are saying “I told you so!” to an conversation you never a part of.

    Honestly, the post reeks of jealousy. Jealousy that Evans has a bigger on-line following. Jealousy that people aren’t coming to the churches you think they should go to.

    Here’s an alternative approach that would have been helpful: “Introducing the UMC to Younger Evangelicals” or “Why Millenials are leaving Mainline Churches, too.”

    I personally believe it does no good to critique without providing an alternative, which is why I wrote “7 Lessons Learned from a Church of Millenials” ( I look forward to hearing you provide ideas to accompany your criticisms.


    • Why are you assuming he is jealous of Evans? How does that substantiate your argument? That’s a little below-the-belt caricature, don’t you think?

    • Stephen Hale

      “I personally believe it does no good to critique without providing an alternative…”

      I believe the alternative he provided is the UMC.

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  • Philip Brooks

    You paint a very lovely picture of the United Methodist Church Mr. Bradley. As a United Methodist myself I guess I should be flattered, but I also have to be honest and the truth is you’re over-selling us by a lot. I don’t know what the church you attended when you were a United Methodist was like (it sounds nice), but I caution you against assuming the the “United” Methodist Church always lives up to its name. I will agree that perhaps in comparison to many conservative evangelical fellowships, the Methodists appear more embracing to science and more open and welcoming of LGBT persons, but I wouldn’t say all Methodist church live up to Rachel’s hopes in the blog. On paper maybe we do, but what get put on the UMNS site, gets petitioned to General Conference, or added to the Book of Resolutions is necessarily what gets preached in the pulpit or taught in the Sunday School room every week.

    “The UMC is outside of the culture wars.” You haven’t attended a General Conference recently, have you? We are just as much in the thick of it as everyone else. True few pastors go as far as telling their congregations who to vote for, but Methodists are sharply divided on war, abortion, gay rights, health care, and immigration just to name a few.

    “It has no conflicts with science and faith and clearly teaches what they are for instead of against.” Maybe not on paper, but I think you’ll find that within individual congregations there is still debate and disagreement concerning the role of science and faith. I’ve sat in adult Sunday school classes in Methodist churches where the members express views on creation ranging from theist evolution to old earth creationism. Granted, I haven’t met to too many young earth Methodists, but I think you get my point.

    “The UMC is a place where LGBT friends are welcomed.” If only this were always true. Again maybe you stack us against every denomination or tradition, we might appear more welcoming, but at the congregational level there is still a lot of resistance to any form of ministry geared toward bringing LGBT persons into the church. In many places the rule has been “conform first then be welcomed”, which I think certainly goes against the teachings in the Discipline, but the Discipline isn’t always what’s being preached.

    “Moreover, if anyone knows anything about Wesleyanism, you know that Methodists have a deep emphasis on personal holiness and social action.” You’re absolutely right here. I find it hard to believe anyone can claim to be a Wesleyan and not commit to social holiness, and yet across the country there is probably only one exemplary church for every twenty or thirty lukewarm ones when it comes to holiness ministry. In America at least, many Methodists have lost touch with their roots and their ministry has become increasingly about catering to the desires of a comfortable and secure middle class, than the down in the dirt kind of ministry John Wesley.
    You define the Methodists by the kind of the church we should be Mr. Bradley, but millenials are a “show me” generation. We’re not interested in what goes in the Discipline or gets talk about during General Conference. We want to know what this or that individual congregation or community of believers is “doing” to live out the Gospel. We want to know what it means to be a Methodist or a Baptist or Presbyterian or whatever to individual person. How does it impact their life? What does it lead them to do?

    • Shaun

      > Philip.

      I am a gay United Methodist and a millennial. I grew up in the church, went to my college Wesley Foundation, and have continued to attend the UMC wherever I am. I now attend the UMC of our former President George Bush, beloved by Evangelicals. Shockingly even his / our UMC is LGBT friendly and accepting. My conference allows a LGBT chartered Bible study group to which I belong. It is not displayed online but has a hidden Facebook presence. We expand the group through word of mouth and even through Grindr. I don’t blame the denomination for not allowing gay ministers because if the US were to separate from the worldwide UMC we would permit gay ministers. We each have a calling and part of that calling is to make our presence known and not leave the church.

      I will continue to attend the UMC, liberal or conservative, culture war or not, out gay ministers or not, all things happen in time. For now our faith should not be held hostage to an institution wrestling with highly politicized and culture influenced questions. At my predominantly (thinking) Republican UMC I don’t have to raise a rainbow flag or wear bright colors to advocate for tolerance and acceptance there just like with my Republican family, I already have their acceptance. They realize God created us naturally different. My problem is not the UMC, it is the lack of acceptance I receive from the LGBT community for being Christian. My ministry is not LGBT advocacy to the straights but advocating the church and faith to the gays.

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  • Cris S

    Many people create God in their own image, and media propaganda spreads the socialist ideology as often as they can. I am not surprised that many people want to adjust the church and the religion according to the artificially created image of God, instead of going to the springs of faith.

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  • UMtoCatholicConvert

    Many of us millenials go through a time of question- to life, to identity, and to their faith. Statistics are; 4 out of 5 of us who take a break from our faith return to our faith or one closely aligned eventually. This so called millennial thing is poppy-cock. Ancient liturgy such as Catholicism is very welcoming, and certainly NOT concerned with being cool…it’s focus instead is in community, the sacraments, it’s liturgy surrounds the mystery of the faith and the body and blood of Christ, there are faith formation groups, bible studies, youth groups, social justice opportunities and so much more! The liturgy is consoling and with a growing and strong population of young people active in the faith makes Catholicism equally refreshing! I was disappointed to recently be with a family friend now married to a young UM pastor. She was telling people things that her husband teaches about the Catholic faith that are COMPLETE UNTRUTHS! I highly suggested that when she has a moment, to look up here statements in a catechesis or via the Vatican website because her statements were completely false. I asked what her husband thought he is gaining by false teaching…and for a faith so supposedly connected to the Bible should know to avoid false teachers.

  • Gary

    (Arminian) Evangelical Christianity teaches that my salvation is dependent on MY decision to accept Christ, and my assurance of salvation is dependent on MY feelings of his continued presence in my heart.

    But what happens during times of hardship and trial when I don’t feel saved? Answer: I repeat my born again experience again and again until I finally feel absolutely certain that I am saved!

    Thousands, maybe millions, of Evangelical Christians struggle with doubts and fears regarding their salvation and eternal destiny due to this faulty theology. They have no sure assurance of salvation! They are praying the Sinner’s Prayer again and again as if it were a Rosary.

    The Sinner’s Prayer:

    “Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for
    Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name. Amen.”

    • Roger McKinney

      Evangelical Christianity does not teach that your salvation depends on your feelings but your faith. You know you’re saved if you believe.

  • SweetWaterGringo

    I know this is a very old thread, but I would like to add my two cents anyway. I am not a Millennial, but I am a more moderate leaning Evangelical, who is also a divorced “ex-gay” who struggles to find a church that is welcoming, but also holds up what is, in my opinion, biblical truth. It seems that churches like the UMC which emphasize loving and welcoming the LGBT community forget that we all, as Christians, are called to sexual purity. No one gets a pass on that, according to the Bible. Conversely, those conservative Evangelical churches that teach sexual purity rant and rave against homosexuals as if they were the cause of all the ills that the world finds itself in. They seem forget to love homosexuals altogether.

    For me, my reluctance to go to church is basically the same reason that I wanted out of high school: If you’re different and/or unpopular, they are very difficult and lonely places to be.