Are you a church millennial?

Many think a millennial is any young adult born after 1980, but if you go to church you know that millennials are defined by more than their age. Their church experience is different. This scientific quiz will help you understand how “church millennial” you are. According to my best guesses, these questions will reveal whether you share the values, attitudes, and behaviors of a typical church millennial.

1. Did your parents take you to church when you were a child?
a. It depends on which parent I was with that weekend.
b. Sometimes.
c. Every Sunday, even though they didn’t want to go either.

2. Where is your Bible?
a. On my phone
b. God’s Word is all around us
c. On my nightstand, next to my reading glasses

3. What is the primary purpose of the church?
a. Care for God’s children
b. Christian formation
c. To stay bigger than the Methodist church

4. How often do you attend church?
a. Not as much as my parents think
b. Every Sunday
c. Sunday, Wednesday, and twice a month for committee meetings

5. When you visit a church how do people welcome you?
a. “I’m sorry we don’t have a class for your age group.”
b. “We love young people.”
c. “Here’s a quarterly.”

6. Has your phone ever rung during worship?
a. Yes, but it was during a drum solo.
b. No, I keep it on vibrate.
c. How would I know? I’m at church.

7. Has your church established Twitter hashtags for your services to encourage people to share sermon quotes?
a. #yescaptainobvious
b. #interestingidea
c. #huh?

8. When you hear something in a sermon that you want to remember what do you do?
a. Make a note on my ipad.
b. Make a note on my bulletin.
c. Tell my wife.

9. Would it be appropriate to take a selfie during a baptism?
a. Yes, baptism is a milestone that would be beautifully commemorated with a photo.
b. No, baptism is a sacred event that should be treated as such.
c. Wouldn’t the water ruin your camera?

10. What kind of bread do you eat at the Lord’s Supper?
a. Gluten free
b. Hawaiian
c. Styrofoam chiclets

11. What do you think twentysomethings want in worship?
a. A sense of purpose
b. A casual atmosphere
c. Expensive lattes

12. Does your church have a Facebook page?
a. Yes, it makes the old people happy.
b. Yes, that’s how I found the church.
c. Yes, we’re doing it to reach out to millennials.

13. Does your church website include online giving?
a. Yes. Of course.
b. We’re working on it.
c. No, but we recently updated the picture of our church on the offering envelopes.

14. How many of your friends go to church?
a. I don’t know.
b. Most of them do.
c. The only friend I have who doesn’t go to church is the mailman.

15. If you want to invite people to a church event what do you do?
a. Tweet a clever encouragement to attend.
b. Send an e-vite.
c. Hand a batch of invitations to my pagan mailman.

16. Which of these spiritual practices do you find most meaningful?
a. Walking a labyrinth
b. Chanting ancient songs
c. Bible drills

17. What Christian tattoos do you have?
a. Charis, the Greek word for grace
b. the cross
c. Semper Fi

18. Do you think evangelical Christianity is too political, too exclusive, and hostile to LGBTs?
a. Exactly
b. In some ways
c. What does the T stand for?

19. Do you think churches focus too much on sex?
a. Yes. It seems to be the only issue.
b. The church has a responsibility to speak to fidelity.
c. We will quit talking about it when they quit doing it.

20. Is Christianity too focused on rules?
a. Yes. Churches are too legalistic.
b. We need law and grace.
c. These kids today need to straighten up and fly right. And get off my lawn.

Grading your quiz

This quiz can give 442,368 (or so) different combinations of answers. Compare your responses with what you imagine might be the responses of thousands of millennial wannabes nationwide. Weigh each answer and make up the score that represents your resemblance to the typical Church Millennial.

75-100 – You are a real live ridonks church millennial.
50-74 –You appear to have some millennial tendencies, but it likely embarrasses people when you rap the scripture
25-49 – You may know some people at church in their twenties.
0-24 – Someone younger than you are showed you this blog.

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How to Give Your Testimony

The well-dressed man standing at the pulpit is sharing his testimony. The pastor, Brother Will B. Done, sits behind him.

The testifier shouts, “Brothers and sisters, I’m not the man I used to be! Yes, friends, I used to be a drunkard.”
Will B. Done calls out, “Tell it brother.”
“And I used to be a gambler!”
“Tell it brother!”
“And I used to carry on with women!”
“Tell it brother!”
“And I used to dress my Doberman in ladies’ clothing.”
“Ooooh I wouldn’t tell that!”

Testimonies used to be a favorite part of worship, because someone might say something juicy. When missionaries gave their testimonies it included oddities like eating scorpions and learning languages you have to spit. Evangelists had the best testimonies. They dropped out of high school, went into show business, were miraculously converted, and stopped sleeping around—“Hallelujah!”

Testimonies have a long, checkered history. Some tell their story as though it is an achievement. They consider themselves self-made. We are tempted to tell our stories as if we pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps.

For instance, I grew up in the turmoil of the Deep South in the 1960s and the hardships of the rust belt North in the 1970s. I chose Baylor, the world’s largest Baptist university, a demanding school with a terrible football team. My parents wondered if I would have enough money to pay tuition—it was $45 a semester hour—but I took a grueling job in the bookstore, worked as many as eight hours a week, and I made it. I moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where I finished a Master’s and a Ph.D. in only eight short years. I set my sights on a beautiful woman whose parents considered her way out of my league but I persisted. I served as a pastor for twenty-two years in four churches that my mother would describe as prominent. In each place of service I was respected by several people in the community. The fourth largest seminary in Atlanta thought I should be shaping young minds, so now I’m one of the fourteen finest professors at the McAfee School of Theology.

Telling our story that way is fun, but there are a variety of ways to tell your story. You can tell your story without it meaning anything. One thing happens, then another, random occurrences without meaning. Sometimes we tell our story that way.

I was born in South Dakota. I went to elementary and junior high in Mississippi and high school in Ohio. I graduated from college. Carol and I met in Louisville and got married. I took a job in Indiana. Graham was born. We moved to Kansas. Caleb was born. We moved to Waco, then Fort Worth, and now Atlanta. That’s the story.

All the facts are right, but it does not mean anything. To see our lives as meaningless happenstance or as the product of our own labors, means we have missed the point.

This is my testimony. Way back in the beginning God’s goodness erupted and created the heavens and the earth. God made people to hear their stories.

Two thousand years ago, my story took a dramatic turn in the story of Jesus. We see the heart of God broken and opened in front of us in Jesus’ life and death. The people who loved Jesus’ story discovered that the Spirit was with them to help them remember and live the story. The best of our ancestors were not only faithful to the story, but added to its glory.

Not many years ago, some people in Mississippi told the story to my grandparents who told it to my mother who claimed it as her story, too. A college student in San Antonio told the story to my father who decided that he wanted it to be his story. My parents and those with whom they share the story helped me slowly but surely understand that my life has meaning in the light of God’s story.

Several churches encouraged me to explore God’s gracious invitation to ministry. At seminary, I met a most genuine Christian who worked at an inner city church. Carol’s mother and father had taught her Christ’s way of compassion. I was way behind and still am.

A church in Indiana welcomed us and cared for us through a painful miscarriage. When Graham and Caleb were born, we recognized that they were gifts of grace. We have served delightful churches and a wonderful seminary. Through those caring sisters and brothers God has taught me. My story is all about God’s grace. My testimony and yours is the story of God loving us, through good and bad, helping us find hope in a story bigger than our own.

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