Related to my research topic on why younger folks aren’t in church is the section on promises and its relationship to distrust of institutions; a cultural systemic challenge for which I do not know the way forward, even with many positive hints received from reading Christine D. Pohl’s book Living into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us.
Pohl aptly described the 2011 twenty-something mentality of last-minute decision-making to keep options open in case something better comes along (81). I would hazard a guess that now, seven years later, those same people, (now thirty-somethings) are taking that same attitude and applying it to church attendance over all, not just church programs conflicting with other specific available activities (e.g. sports: during Gen X’s growing up years we had encroachment of sports practices, games, and other activities into the Sunday Church time as well).
The generational shift from Pohl’s grandfather to herself is summed up perfectly with her heading, “From ‘Doing My Duty’ to “What Works for Me” (87). This hints at the immense challenges the next generation of socio-culture architects has in addressing systemic transformation of our country and the entirety of its cultural ethos. Framed by Strauss and Howe, Millennials (a “Civic” generation) are the next agents in cyclical generation theory to be these architects.
Undoubtedly, this will impact leadership in the church. Following these next societal architects will be the iGen, the first truly native digital generation. What will happen as they grow up and come of age into a Millennial led church?