Whether we recognize it or not, my generation has an unconscious tendency to want to be in the world and of it, too. As I talked with a friend not long ago, the leaders of a branch of churches came up. My friend proclaimed the leaders of this church as “cool”. He said, “See, if you hang around them after services they’ll all go out and have a beer. These guys swear more than most of the people I know!” The first thought that came to my mind was to wonder why people in positions of leadership in the church would be making those kinds of decisions in an arena where they would be so scrutinized. Those things aside though, I think the attitude that I saw in my friend is indicative of a bigger problem that has become prevalent in Millennials. Too many people in my generation put Jesus in their Instagram bio, listen to Bethel Music, or have a bible verse tattooed somewhere on their body, but Christianity isn’t something that is radically changing them. Often, individuals simply hang around churches for the free coffee and maybe to find a cute guy or girl.
One common perception of the Church among Millennials is a very rules-based society of people who are quick to judge and even quicker to display hypocrisy. In addition, most people conceal their vices until they are exposed. Such things are to be expected from imperfect people, but in today’s world the worst thing to be is a poser. As a direct result, church leaders and those within the church body can be transparent to the point of flaunting their imperfections. Millennials tend to elevate such leaders.
The issue begins when it becomes “cool” to be sinful and open about it. There is nothing wrong about being honest with the ways that God is changing lives to become more sinless, and in fact that should be talked about as a source of encouragement. However, Millennials have seen those leaders who do not claim perfection and they want to believe that it is okay to live a worldly life and to call yourself a Christian too.
My point is this: we shouldn’t be trying to live the worldliest life as possible while being a Christian. Millennials should be trying to live Christ-like lives as much as possible. Being “cool” in the eyes of the world will make life more comfortable, being a Christian by mouth only is not what Christ’s calling is for us.
In a more practical sense, we cannot claim to be pursuing God while thinking that we can be selective about the parts of our lives that we want sanctification in. We cannot be Christians who are only there for the “cool” parts. We should not be looking up to and applauding leaders for the ways in which they are fall short and sin. Additionally, transparency is not what we should be striving for. Living lives according to God’s words and sharing His truth is what we should be pursuing.
Finally, I can see the fear in the eyes of my fellow Millennials, “What? Why can’t we be cool? The world won’t accept us! We will be different and weird. Why should we have to miss out on the fun things in life?” To these individuals, I would ask what their priorities are. If being of the world is more attractive than not being in it, then by all means live for yourself. But, do not come around for the trendy Christian worship music and the man buns and the coffee. Hipster Christianity shouldn’t be a trend. 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 is very clear about this.
“For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”
What more evidence do we need? Rather than trying to have as much of the world as possible while having Jesus too, let’s try to have as much of Jesus as possible and become more like Him. If the world rejects us, all the better. We are not here to blend in anyway.