Minister Ben Giselbach
Minister Ben Giselbach

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BNc) — The number one reason Ben Giselbach thinks most millennials are leaving the church: the previous generation “didn’t challenge us enough.”

That lack of challenge led millennials to look elsewhere, the Cedar Creek minister wrote today. “We are smart, and if our intellectual needs aren’t met inside the church, we look somewhere else. For whatever reason, we didn’t grow because we weren’t challenged.”

With the assumption that in the church statistics are similar to the 59% loss among denominations, Ben charges: “The last generation failed to make New Testament Christianity appealing to my generation.”

He put into words some of the sentiments that his generation are feeling.

He noted exceptions, of whom he is one, and acknowledged that the millennials themselves are responsible for their own faith.

As a solution, he touched on a direction for the church to consider:

How can we keep those that are left? We’ve got to challenge my generation. We must teach them God’s Word. We need to engage their minds and demonstrate that New Testament Christianity is relevant and meaningful. We need to show them that being faithful child of God is the only way to find true success and happiness.

Ben’s article is available at this link.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

13 thoughts on “‘We were babied,’ says millennial-generation preacher

  1. Being “challenged” is a poor excuse for leaving the faith. They have a Bible. I dare say that if they aren’t challenged by the word of God, they have little hope indeed.

  2. I don’t think today’s problems should be blamed on previous generations. Was Joshua’s generation responsible for the next generation’s apostasy? NO.

    “And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel…” (Joshua 24:31)

    “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel…” (Judges 2:10)

  3. Where does ones own responsibility come into play..IE Save yourself from this wicked and perverse generation.. Also the pablum preaching, golf..do nothing, but preach sundays, preacher, will pay but, what about those he preached to….Those are the ones that’s leaving..Paul, Lynns husband.

  4. Unbelievable. It’s not my fault. It can’t be my fault. I’m smart. I’m industrious. I’m the very picture of spiritual health. But my parents and grandparents did not challenge me so I’m leaving the church.

    Brilliant. Utterly brilliant.

    And Millennials wonder why their elders do not respect them. Maybe because the first words out of their mouth are, “it’s not my fault?” At what point will it be your fault? When will you take responsibility?

  5. Giselbach clearly said this generations problems are not exclusively the previous generations fault. He also said that there are exceptions, some parents did do a good job of raising their children. Was Eli responsible for not restraining his sons? Did Eli’s lack of restraint have consequences in the formation of his children’s character? Were his children still responsible for their own sins. Of course, the answer to each question is yes. Instead of taking offense, the thing to do is learn where mistakes have been made so that they aren’t repeated. That is the point of the blog. We can stick our collective heads in the sand and pretend we have nothing to do with the problem, or we can try to do something about it. I’d like to not write off a whole generation, how bout you?

  6. Gipson, I am very much invested in “doing something” about this issue. But the author clearly stated as his number one reason that his older generation failed him and his generation. Therein lies the whole crux of the issue – if a generation is only going to evaluate its success or failure based on what previous generations did for them (or did not do for them) then there can be no “doing something.” The target will always be moving. The previous generation will always be too strict, too lenient, too doctrinaire, too issue oriented, too grace oriented, too whatever. My parents and grandparents were not perfect, but I don’t blame them, even secondarily, for my failures. The fact that he places the primary blame on others is telling about the millennial generation. It is not just about church. The reason they fail in school is because they were not taught right. The reason they can’t get a job is because the mean nasty bosses won’t hire them. The reason they can’t pay back their school loans is because the mean nasty banks actually demand monthly payments. It goes on and on and on.

    I would like for a millennial to stand up and say, “you know what, my parents were not perfect – but they had their own set of problems. I and my generation have our set of problems, but we refuse to be defined by those problems. We choose to be defined by how we overcome those problems.” Apparently, the author thinks it is still the responsibility of the “older” generation to fix the millennial’s lack of challenge. When are they going to own their own failures?

    Ownership is how my “previous generation” survived and thrived. Ownership is how my parents looked at raising their children. Ownership and responsibility is how I try my best to raise my daughter. And that is exactly how I am attempting to “do something about it.”

  7. As a millennial, you know what, my parents were not perfect – but they had their own set of problems. I and my generation have our set of problems, but we refuse to be defined by those problems. We choose to be defined by how we overcome those problems.

  8. One more comment and then I need to disappear. My comments make it sound like I am attacking the author personally. I do not know Ben Giselbach personally and it is uncharitable of me to make it sound like he is the problem here. If he or anyone else thinks I am personally attacking him I apologize deeply. Often my fingers work quicker than my brain.

    Because of my position I hear a “blame first, second and always” mentality all too frequently. It is distressing because it appears to be so widespread among the young people I come into contact with. This does not mean they are bad kids – but Ben is absolutely right about one thing – they have been protected from every possible consequence of bad decisions or faulty thinking. His term “babied” is graphic and accurate. But whether the sentiment is expressed by good kids or bad kids the end result remains – as long as the emphasis is on *blame* there can be no solution. If we identify a *cause* then we can work to eliminate it. I trust that is what Ben was aiming for – at first blush it just sounded to me like another verse in the blame song.

    So, Ben, I’m sorry if it sounded like I was attacking you. I did not mean to. I do want to expose the blame game as being a worthless expenditure of energies that need to be expended elsewhere. But I know my own words came off as being arrogant and self-righteous.

    Mea culpa.

  9. Ben’s solution is what we have preached in the past and are preaching in the present. As far as attempting to challenge people, if what Christ did on the cross is not enough for the individual, the church doesn’t need them.
    Our strength is in faithfulness to Christ, not the numbers we keep or loose.

  10. Living a Christian life is the real challenge. Christianity demands commitment; something that some in millennial generation seem to lack. The beauty and simplicity of the gospel and church pale in comparison to their high speed life style. Someone should have warned Jesus, greatest teacher that ever lived, that he needed more intellectual appeal because he spoke in a simple language, often using parables to get his message across. If we are bored with the gospel of Christ, the problem is not intellectual but spiritual. Previous generations have been keepers of the faith; we cannot blame them for falling away by millennial generation.

  11. Was the ground good (Matthew 13:3-9)? Were they disciples of Christ before they were baptized (Matthew 28:19-20)?

    Matthew 13:3-9
    3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
    4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
    5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
    6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
    7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
    8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
    9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

    Matthew 28:19-20

    19 Go ye therefore, and teach (Greek says make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

    20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

  12. I really appreciate the article and comments. I would like to share with you that there is book called Muscle and a Shovel – it’s new to the brotherhood and there’s already been approximately 250-300 baptisms, and an estimated 80 restorations due to the book. I truly believe this story will challenge our young people as never before, and pray you might consider looking into it a little further. Thank you.

  13. Ben, I appreciate your article and feel that several brethren ran ahead of you in their comments. I agree that one of the factors that has hurt millennials is that they haven’t been challenged. Countless churches have adopted the approach that we must entertain our youth to keep them. Fun, games, activities, etc. while throwing in a little Bible. We do our young people a disservice and a backhanded insult by insinuating that young people who stay or won’t be interested in our focus is challenging Bible study.

    I don’t believe there’s any attempt on your part to blame a single group of people. There’s more than enough blame to go around for everyone.

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