Why Are We Losing Our Young People? A Millennial Litany

"Unity," A litany based on a whiny peasant."

LEADER: May we continue to discriminate against women without theological foundation for the sake of unity.

PEOPLE: Why are we losing young people?

LEADER: Let us make the literal six day creation a sacrament.

PEOPLE: Why are we losing young people?

LEADER: May we preoccupy ourselves with remnant theology in order that we may emphasize inquisition rather than acceptance, purification rather than love.

PEOPLE: Why are we losing young people?

LEADER: Let us pay lip-service to women and young people, while ensuring their voting power at our synods remains statistically insignificant.

PEOPLE: Why are we losing young people?

LEADER: Whenever our expression of worship, or expression in general, creates conflict, let us defer to the most orthodox views every time and lecture others on the importance of compromise and unity.

PEOPLE: Why are we losing young people?

ALL: God, what is wrong with young people?

ALL: Amen.

Brandon Herrmann is a passionate churchman.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7666





Of course, none of these subjects will get any widespread discussion, in any SDA voting body, where the average age of the attendants is not below 55, and the outcome of said discussion is not, if you’ll pardon the pun, pre-ordained.



QUESTION: Why are we losing young people?

ANSWER: Young people, by nature, are idealistic. Church governance is bureaucratic.

QUESTION: What does that mean?

ANSWER: A “bottom-line” corporation, with a “love-your-neoghbor” ideology is an OXYMORON.




They are becoming a rare breed in Adventism!

How many Adventist churches will include your splendid piece in their worship bulletin for their “Responsive Reading” next Sabbath?. I doubt few will do so!

It might be the most pertinent, thought provoking, and practical part of their liturgy in years!! Parents bewail the loss of their offspring to “worldliness” but do nothing to engage the propelling reasons for their mass exodus.

That said, as an itinerant retiree, I also visit “Sunday” churches in my travels. I find there also an absence of the young and middle aged.

Secularism has replaced religion in the Western world. However, these “Sunday” churches seem to preach a simple, unadulterated Gospel, all bereft of the current controversial calamitous conflicts which consume modern day Adventism. So they should be more likely to retain their young.

How can we hope to retain our young people, when issues which are of minor importance, issues which should be a “storm in a teacup” are magnified by our current leadership, into hurricanes of hermeneutics!

Equality is not a "social trend"
It is what the Civil War and abolition of slavery was about.
It is what ended APARTHEID in what used to be a police state-
my country of birth , South Africa.
It is what the suffragettes fought for!
It is what gave gay/lesbian taxpayers the same tax
breaks their heterosexual married friends had enjoyed for decades!
Unfortunately, some are so deficient in their masculinity,
that “equality” is terrifyingly threatening to them!


Question: Why are we losing our young people?

Answer: Because Ted Wilson


Go to GYC. You’ll see where the serious young people go. The superficial ones need constant entertaining and of course you must keep up with all the social trends, especially “equality”.


[quote=“pagophilus, post:6, topic:11836”] of course you must keep up with all the social trends, especially “equality”.

Equality isn’t a social trend. It’s a human and God-given right. We ARE all equal in God’s eyes…(I believe)

Or are you on another level, pagophilus?


Dear Brandon:

 I don't know where you're located, but if you live close to Andrews University, I happily invite you to come and worship with a very passionate group of young people who meet on the Andrews campus for vespers each Friday night, for Sabbath School each Sabbath morning, and for Bible study each Sabbath afternoon.

 These young people have made their faith their own, and recognize that God's written counsel is the Christian's supreme authority, as opposed to the speculation of scholars or the vagaries of experience.  

 Before you pass judgment too quickly on "remnant theology" or a resumed "lack of theological foundation" for spiritual gender role distinctions as defined in Scripture, I urge you to inquire more deeply into the Biblical rationale for the convictions of those who hold to these principles.  

 And without question, if you have the chance, come to GYC.  I have attended every one of their conference since the movement began.  You will see an enthusiasm for the Adventist message there that deserves a hearing from a thoughtful young person like yourself.

 Feel free to write me privately if you wish, at <kevindpaulson@gmail.com>  I would enjoy hearing from you very much.

Is there a Difference between living in an Adventist Ghetto, Andrews, PUC, LLU, LSU, Collegedale, WWU and where church membership is 50 -75?
Over on AT an older person had interviewed Penny Wheeler, author. And brought out the fact that in an SDA ghetto one could be born, live, and die and NEVER have to speak to a non-SDA. Even Penny would avoid non-SDAs as she was afraid of not knowing what to say.
The author herself recognized in her life this was similar to hers. It was a very challenging and uncomfortable revelation about Adventist Ghetto living.

The Millennials NOT living in Ghettos are involved with non-SDAs in many places. Hear and see, receive impressions. They also hear and see, receive impressions when attending an SDA environment at least on Sabbath. They see and hear the difference.
Is the difference what they want, want to live by, or not??
This Litany is calling out this haunting question.
Eventually, it is going to REQUIRE an answer.

the Gospels have Jesus discussing the “fights” between generations. Mother in law against daughter in law. father and son against each other, mother and daughter between each other. Luke 12.
In the case of the SDA church no different.
But what WAS the Harm in giving Women the VOTE both here and in England? Even Victoria’s daughter left the palace to cheer the women on to fight for the Vote!!
What was wrong in fighting against Slavery by England in 1808 and 1830? With fighting against slavery in the US? Fighting against the KKK and Jim Crow, having to sit in the back of the bus? Fighting against apartheid in South Africa and similar around the world?
All these were by the “Younger Generation”.
Moses had to change his 80,90 year old mind and ALLOW daughters [women] inherit property from their father. As he originally said that ONLY Males [sons] could do so.
What is WRONG with giving Women AND Men EQUAL opportunity in the Adventist Chruch? What is wrong with ALLOWING ALL Members EQUAL opportunity in the SDA church?

THESE are questions that Millennials need an answer to. And it REQUIRES THE CORRECT ANSWERS.
Otherwise they will Pick and Choose what they want of the SDA Corporation and leave the rest, leave the rest to a Desolate House as far as they are concerned. Place their MEMBERSHIP in the Heavenly Courts.
Jesus FIRST! And hum the song — I would be LIKE Jesus ALL DAY LONG! And actually attempt to be LIKE Jesus, BE LIKE GOD in their affairs here on earth.


We are losing some of our young people because too many leaders are more concerned with giving the youth what they (the leaders) think they want, rather than giving them what they really need. They dumb down the Gospel to “attract” the youth, and it backfires. Rather than leading them to a higher standard, they try to lower the Gospel to the level of the current culture. It never has worked and never will. Why would anyone, young or old, come to church just so they could experience the same cheap drivel they get out in the world? Like rock bands, parties, coffee and donuts in the foyer, dramatic plays, etc. Give them something solid and challenging and they are more likely to stick around.

This piece misrepresents the situation, and it is clear that the author has some issues with our theology. The church is expected to change to meet the “felt needs” of youth, “unchurched Harry,” worldlings, etc. But that’s never been what the Gospel is about; it’s about changing people so that they reflect the character of Christ.


The paternalistic condescension here is really endearing. I can hear Millennials everywhere giving church a second chance already.


There may well be NO WAY OUT of this dilemma. The solution is not about “dumbning down the Gospel” or having rock band style music, instead of Bach/Psalms /anthems, in church music. The matter is way more fundamental. More to the point is :can the chosen sacred compendium(the Bible) of the country which has become the hope of the human species by means of its Great humanitarian Constitution(not necessarily its strict practice) stand forensic academic/commonsense investigation? Sometimes we have to practice theological gymnastics , akin to Simone Byles’ physical ones, in order to maintain "purity of belief in its many non sequitors. YET, another matter to consider is if such investigations lead to disbelief ion the infallibility of the Bible and tithe-paying members cease supporting the church with their money, , there would be no funding for all the undeniably good works of the church , particularly in health , education, and philanthropy, et al. So do we continue on the usual pathways regardless??? The millennials seem to want to declare the Emperor nude whatever the ultimate cost.

You might want to estimate how many youth show up at GYC events and then divide by all the grey haired members sitting in NAD church pews and see if you can arrive at any enlightenment.

There will always be some very conservative youth in each generation. Its just they don’t come anywhere near replacement numbers for the older generation of conservatives dying off each generation.


From a slightly different angle - Too much focus is placed on ‘money offerings’ which really is quite simple and convenient. Done your little part for God? Yes! Rest in the Lord, the joy of your salvation. So blissful.

However - A ‘time offering’ is highly likely (greater probability) what God would prefer to money. After all healing, clothing, feeding… requires patience and time. When was the last time you heard this principle taught? It should be highlighted most often.

With a ‘time offerings’ leaders/volunteers can prepare really good lessons, outings, and object lessons that resonate with the youth. It’s no secret that youth have a higher chance of success when they have PRECIOUS TIME with individuals. In this case - parents, positive leaders, and other church members. We can all get involved and help whether big or small. That’s an active body of Christ.

It’s a science - All of us as children… craved approval… craved attention. And it’s only logical that if they aren’t getting it… they will find it elsewhere. Promote “time offerings”.


Could the answer have better been, A “top-down” organization with a “love your neighbor” mantra, that in their lives lived out is a total load of baloney!

Adventism has reverted to its most cultic ways. That with a show of unrelenting power is a turn off for any rational uncluttered mind. tom Z


We have “made our faith bed”
-and expect our young people to sleep in it…


Great list. I’ll add:
LEADER: Let us pretend the entire bible is to be used by Christians, that is should be literally interpreted, but then only use the parts we find interesting and only interpret parts literally that agree with our theology.

PEOPLE: Why are we losing young people?

LEADER: Let us teach that it is important to follow all of the commandments, the ones explicitly given to the Jews, as that makes us superior, but then just not do it. Even the fourth, if you read it, we do not follow.

PEOPLE: Why are we losing our young people?

LEADER: Let us obsessively pretend to be superior by pretending to be Kosher by not eating pork or shrimp. Because that is so very important to salvation, as clearly relayed by Paul (well, not really.) But then just totally fail at being or even understanding what Kosher is.

PEOPLE: Why are we losing our young people?

LEADER: Let’s use the bible as a science textbook, something it is clearly not intended to be, and insist that all science that does not agree with it is wrong.

PEOPLE: Why are we losing our young people?


I can’t speak for Brandon but I can’t imagine many millennials are interested in your breed of theology. I have read your words all over cyber space and as a boomer I am not interested in your breed of theology and nothing personal meant. I just can’t stomach anymore lectures about how biblical it is to exclude people and discriminate and judge them!

Words are meaningless if behavior doesn’t match. Why would young people be attracted to a church where the “grown ups” are fighting? I am getting less attracted to a church where the ‘grown ups’ are fighting. I do find Jesus and his example very appealing and it would be nice to see it in the majority of the ‘grown ups’ that claim to be SDA from the pew right on up to the Administration at the GC!

The PS at the end of Brandon’s liturgy could be “God, where ARE the young people?”


What is the Gospel? The “un-dumb” version.

If a young person (or any age) came to you, and asked, “What is the Gospel?”, what would you tell them.