I have heard it a lot and seen it all over the Internet, like this study. Millennials are not showing up to church. That we are somehow disinterested in God and that we don’t think it is important. But why?
I am a Millennial, as are most of my friends and I can say that neither of those things are true. I turned 30 in 2016 and as I neared 30 I began really needing to feel connected to a community. The need to be connected to my spiritual side was stronger than ever before.
So I started trying on churches. I first went to an interfaith Thanksgiving service. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever been apart of. Hearing pastors, rabbis and imams read prayers in the language of their religions brought me to tears.
It was in that moment that I realized that I needed this. I live in a fairly small town so I don’t exactly have an abundance of options. I went to a couple Unitarian churches and while I felt connected to their messages I discovered, even at the most open-minded, inclusive churches, people my age where not there.
That made think, are millennials really just not down for church?
So I took a break from trying on churches to really think about what I wanted in a community. I knew I wanted a community with other people my age. An inclusive community that focused on unconditional human love and compassion, a community that focused on growing as people and a community that encouraged free thought and expression. Generally, a place that encouraged and supported me in being my best without placing restrictions or judgements on me.
During this time I also took up yoga, much more seriously than before. I think it was an attempt to find a community if I couldn’t find a traditional church that fit me. I realized the last piece I was looking for one night while was in savasana pose in my aerial yoga class.
That night was an especially hard night. I had an emotionally draining day at work and came home to find a notice that I may have to leave the apartment that I love, through no fault of my own. I was having all the feels when I walked in to yoga that night. Pushing it out of my mind I tried to focus on my yoga practice. I focused on my breathing, on being present in the moment.
But at the end, when my instructor had us safely cocooned in savasana, I felt all those feelings come in. I began to cry, as I listened to the meditation music, I let it out. Letting myself feel all the anxiety and stress and sadness. As I cried, I realized that I felt safe here. It was safe to let those emotions out so I could focus on my next steps, set my intentions.
That is my church
I was giving up my control and connecting with my higher power. It wasn’t necessary to show up on Sunday morning to a pretty building and listen to a preacher or pastor. All I needed was the quiet time, in the darkness, listening to meditation music and my yoga instructor telling me to let go of what happened that day and to set my intentions for the next day.
Maybe millennials are doing it differently, maybe it’s just me. To be honest I am not totally sure.
Let me know your thoughts on church, I would love to hear from you.