Millennial Christian: Strengthen Your Faith
The Millennial Generation is categorized as those born from 1982-2002. This means that age of this generation ranges from 34 years old to 14 years old. Based on this alone, I would assume that those within this age range are also young in the faith. Even the most mature of millennials (34 yrs), in many environments or situations may be young in the faith. This doesn’t necessarily equate immaturity, but it does imply that many millennials are young.
As a pastor, I am humbled by the older saints in our congregation. Many of the older saints have been Christians longer than I’ve been alive. While they may not have had the exposure to theological education that I have been privileged to receive, their walk with the Lord is enough to keep my Greek and Hebrew mouth quiet. I have much to learn from older saints in both doctrine and life.
I think it’s important to state that I find myself in the midst of this generation and some of these observations are present in my life. I don’t think this disqualifies me from the office of the pastorate. Rather, I’d like to think that I am trying to be honest with my shortcomings and attempting to set a proper example of faith and repentance to the flock that God has entrusted to my care. It is in these things that I am seeking to apply the word’s of Paul to Timothy, “Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all” (1 Tim 4:15). In other words, young pastors should live up to elder qualifications, yet must realize their growth and development in the faith as an example to the flock.
I think millennial Christians ought to take a moment and realize that we’re not as holy and mature as we may think we are. Many millennials are still in stages in life that requires the strengthening and building up of their faith from a foundational and basic level. With that said, I’d like to offer a few observations and suggestions for millennial Christians regarding the nature of young faith.
#1: Millennial Faith is Likely Less Informed Faith
In making this statement, I do not mean to say that millennials don’t know the Gospel. They don’t have an uniformed faith. Millennial Christians have a Less informed faith. What I’m trying to communicate is that young faith has not been given the time or opportunity to study the faith in a thorough and in depth way. The reason why I say that millennial faith is likely uniformed faith is because it takes time to soak in theology and think through what Scripture has to say about life.
As a pastor, I am confident in my theological convictions and as time passes I believe I am growing stronger in those convictions. Still, with the deepening of my convictions I am finding myself more gracious and understanding of those whom I disagree with within the believing community. I don’t believe I have compromised, but I do believe I am learning to appreciate other Christians and how they come to their theological convictions.
Within the bounds of orthodoxy are many contentious issues. Discussion that revolve around serious issues such salvation (Arminianism vs. Calvinism), Scripture (its authority, sufficiency, and inerrancy), and even church polity (i.e., congregationalism, elder rule, etc.) are all relevant, important, and necessary for healthy Christian living. I would like to encourage millennial Christians to do diligence in studying the Scriptures with humility.
Millennials are so willing to study technology, coffee, Pokemon, and society’s latest trends. Millennial Christians need to approach their faith with greater rigor and commitment than the frivolous things of this world. As a local church pastor, I need to realize that Scripture ought to be my guiding light in this dark world. Without knowing the Scriptures I will easily get lost in the contending voices of the world and the repercussions could be dangerously hurtful to me and those around me.
#2: Millennial Faith is Likely Untested Faith
There is a reason why many young individuals are among the most idealistic in our society. I think it often relates to the fact that we haven’t been around long enough to experience the hardship and disappointments of living in a fallen world. Because of this, I think that many millennial Christians have faith that has not yet been tested. Now, I’m not praying for the widespread persecution of saints and I’m not even offering an imprecatory prayer. I merely want to point out that genuine faith will be tested (Rom 5:3-5; Jas 1:2-4; 1 Pet 1:6-9).
Millennial Christian, our faith still needs to go through the rigors of testing. Testing is part of the ebb and flow of Christian living and for many of us, we are just now being introduced to this reality. We must expect and be ready for the challenges ahead of us and it starts by taking our faith seriously now.
Millennials are already being tested in their faith by our very own society. Society tests our commitment to sexual purity (i.e., fornication, pornography, sexually immoral advertisement/entertainment, etc.). Society tests our commitment to sobriety (i.e., alcohol, legalization of recreational marijuana, etc.). Society tests our commitment to many foundational beliefs of the Christian faith.
How are we doing against these challenges? Do not allow the fact that you may have all the doctrine and theology of the faithful in church history cloud the reality that doctrine demands duty. While you may be working to inform your faith, remember you are informing a faith that works (Jas 2:17-18).
#3: Millennial Faith and the Means of Grace
I do believe that millennials need to implement the old paths of Christian growth. God has given Christians means of grace that when applied strengthen the life and faith of a believer. The three areas that millennials must focus upon to grow their faith are simple:
- Strengthen Your Faith by Bible Intake. It is the most essential and foundational element to Christian growth. Christians, especially young Christians, must be intent on saturated their minds with as much Scripture as possible. Use whatever is within your means to immerse yourself in God’s Word. Listen to podcasts, watch sermons online, read books, memorize Scripture, attend Bible studies, and most importantly commit yourself to daily reading God’s Word in some systematic fashion (with a Bible reading plan suitable for your place in life).
- Strengthen Your Faith by Praying. Next to Bible intake, Christians must make a disciplinary habit of praying. This needs to happen in all different ways. Christians must commit regular times of prayer to the Lord on a daily basis and they must be willing to offer up spontaneous prayers to God in the midst of their busy days. They should also be willing to pray with other saints as a means by which their faith can grow.
- Strengthen Your Faith by Committed Fellowship. Commit yourself to a local church and immerse yourself in it. Serve the local church and allow the church to serve you. Submit to your elders and their spiritual leadership of your souls. Join an accountability group and allow other saints to speak into your life and be willing to receive critique and correction. Show the humility by acknowledging that God has given you other saints for your spiritual benefit (even when it doesn’t feel like it). Go through the rigors of being part of a loving church family that genuinely desires to honor God.
Millennial Christian: Lets Do This In the Church
I fear that the millennial generation prides itself on autonomy (independence). We often find pride in being so technically savvy that we can do more work in less time than any other generation. Adopting that attitude toward strengthen one’s faith will be disastrous. We need to learn from older saints in the church. They can and will help us inform our faith. They can and will help us in times when our faith is tested.
In the same way we need to look to other saints, we must also be willing to be there fore each other. The strengthening of one’s faith requires the involvement of our peers. We need to have the humility show our vulnerability and allow others into our lives so that we might grow.