Editor’s note: Vicky is our newest EcoFaith Recovery intern. Vicky recently graduated from the University of Idaho and hopes to build a career in non-profit communication. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Vicky enjoys reading second-hand books, baking, and generally being outside. She plans to engage with leaders as they shape the organization’s media content for a consistent, clear, and unified message. This is her first blog post. Welcome Vicky!
I am the young adult you’ve heard about. I am growing in faith, working in ministry, held in fellowship, and rooted in a desire to know more of God. You may never see me on a Sunday.
The absent young people of today’s church are a diverse and unique demographic. While I can’t claim to represent the whole, I would try to represent myself and my story as an absent young adult.
In general, when you wonder where I am on a Sunday morning and why it isn’t in the pew beside you, I am one of three places. I am at work. I am asleep. I am annoyed.
I’m at work
Today’s Americans are more likely than ever to be working on the weekends. Yes, even Sundays. Even Sunday morning.
A 2014 study found that nearly 30% of working people in the US log paid hours on the weekend. The same technology that makes many new jobs possible, also makes them inescapable.
I’m working longer and stranger hours because I like my job and I want to get good at it, and right now weekends are part of the deal.
Millennials carry a heavy load into the workforce. We’re expected to fill a growing gap as Baby Boomers retire. We’re also called on to do more with less as companies look to technology to fill in where supervisors, assistants, and partners once were.
So when I do happen to have a weekend off, I’m probably going to rest up after all of the workaholic pressure.
When you ask your pastor, your church council, or Google where the young people have gone, there are a few common responses. Surveys and studies pinpointed the need to be present online, in communities, and in genuine conversation about faith. These are all valid. I’m sure many congregations could be doing more to draw my peers and me to services.
But I’m not particularly interested in that, either. It’s a lesson most of us learned in high school desperation doesn’t draw the cool kids, it repels them. You’ll have a lot more luck if you start putting effort into being deeply and authentically yourself. My notoriously cynical generation is on the lookout for gimmicks and hype that disguise an unchanged church.
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