7 Encouraging Trends in the Millennial Churchfrom the archives
At the time this article was originally written, I was very much a part of the New Calvinist movement that only scratched the surface of Reformed Theology. I did not recognize the importance of things like Covenant Theology and the ordinances and much more, but my original point still remains: the New Calvinist movement is a good thing. Also remember that a notice of a trend is not the encouragement of it.
Despite what your cape-wearing-more-reformed-than-you friends say, people coming to the Doctrines of Grace and camping out there for a while is okay. God’s sovereignty over everything including His salvation of a chosen people is a lot to swallow, so give it some time. Barking the Institutes at them will just lead them back to shallow theology.
So relax. Take another gulp of that beer. Appreciate the New Calvinist movement for what it is, and encourage your hipster almost-reformed friends to grow in the Word, keyboard warrior.
If you have spent anytime in Christian community, stepped foot into a local congregation, or listened to any sermon recently, you will have noticed at least some of these trends. Many good, and many extremely non-beneficial. However, these seven trends are ones that I, being a millennial, have noticed alongside peers and those above myself in the generational bracket.
The obvious trend we see is the rise of New Calvinism in denominations and ‘non-denominations’ that were once not affiliated as such. However, that is another article for another time, as it itself can fill up its own 30 to 40 trends. Since the trend of New Calvinism is so influential, there will be crossover.
- LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS FOCUS
Perhaps the most outwardly impactful trend is missions in the local and the international context. This includes missional living, the adoption of a posture like that of a vocational missionary, to engage others with the gospel message through every aspect of life.
2. DRIVE TOWARDS ETHNIC RECONCILIATION AND DIVERSITY
In light of recent ethnically-related events in the U.S., the Church as a whole in America has had to answer two questions: “is racism Biblical” and “should we actively pursue ethnic diversity, or just let it happen”. A great majority of the Church has obviously answered a resounding no to racism, and a lesser majority has affirmed active pursuit of ethnic diversity in the Church.
Acts29 and Redeemer churches are the most well known in this pursuit, with Redeemer Presbyterian in New York, Capitol Hill Baptist in Washington, D.C., and The Village in Dallas/Fort Worth with much influence in this pursuit.
3. TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION
Though on the surface it may seem mundane, technology is an important part of reaching and engaging this generation. Even though it is important, millennials also want to see themselves able to disconnect from social media in the Church, and all technology therefore used is to aide musical worship, not to replace it.
4. EMBRACE OF GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
As much controversy as the world ‘Calvinism’ has stirred up in the hearts of its opponents and adherents, it has had a profound impact along the whole spectrum. Both those opposed and affirmed to the Doctrines of Grace has felt its weight, that God is sovereign and is there is nothing beyond His command. How this logically plays out is debated, but the centrality of God’s sovereignty is essential to our understanding of suffering and salvation.
5. INTER AND NON-DENOMINATIONALISM
Denominations working together toward the common goal of Gospel advancement is at an all-time high, due largely to the parachurch organization and ministry The Gospel Coalition, and others like it.
Alongside inter-denominational work is the rise of non-denominationalism, mostly in large congregations across the nation. It is important to note that the vast majority of these churches are moving towards being Baptistic in distinctive (i.e.: baptism, communion, eschatology, church leadership, etc.) but not in affiliation, as many are wary of being focused more on affiliation with a denomination rather than Scripture itself (which is a right and good concern, though misplaced).
6. BI-PARTISAN DISSOCIATION
In our generation, believers decreasingly concerned about party lines. Our generation sees politics as an outworking of Scripture in practicality of social justice, and therefore focus on single issue politics and not affiliation. This, however, does not delude the Church’s firm stance on many social issues.
7. INERRANCY / INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE AND CULTURAL TRANSCENDENCE
This trend is quite possibly the most promising, in that Scripture is central to everything that we do. Not only is the Bible the word of God breathed out by Him through man, it is transcendent (without being impersonal). Culture does not dictate Scripture, but Scripture dictates culture, without negating its influence.