How can the church stop the mass exodus of millennials and help them find true love and good friends?
Tara Griffith, therapist, and founder of Wellspace SF (San Francisco, USA) says that millennials grew up in a world filled with dating apps. They grew up in an environment where they have everything, and so the lack of options can overwhelm them. Between the ages of 20 and 30, many millennials prefer to prioritize other aspects of life, such as education, career, travel, or experience, before they decide on a life partner. Some find a partner later in life, when they have already become independent, built a career, and have a stable income. It has also become much more acceptable to have children without getting married. Some millennials don’t see the point and benefit of a marriage certificate, which can potentially complicate things.
Finding a Partner
Millennials have many options for potential partners, therefore they often doubt whether this is really “the one”. Liz Higgins, a couple’s therapist from Dallas says that she helps patients with what I say. For example, it’s better for them to work on themselves than to try to fix or look for Mr. or Miss Perfect. This often leads to a paradox of choice and a feeling of extreme anxiety, a fear of omission, and choosing the wrong person. Instead of worrying about finding the right partner, I help clients refocus on being the right partner. Johnny Foglander, from the book “How to find a life partner,” believes the best thing is to find a partner that matches you, and then grow together in faith and build your family together. If you strive for the highest, you must be the first to change. People who have reached a certain age tend to become more demanding. They have already established habits in their lives and are no longer as flexible as when they were young. The older we get, the less choice we will have. The risks increase with age that you will be ready to take anyone, just so you won’t have to be alone, or worse, become passive and tell yourself, “I will never have a family.”
Jess Hopkins, a life coach from Los Angeles, California, believes that smartphones and other gadgets make it harder for millennials to express their feelings. Text is the main way millennials communicate and express their feelings, but so much is lost along the way. To understand the mood and intentions, there is only a word or punctuation mark. At best, it can lead to frustration; at worse, it can to disaster in a relationship.
Ilya Savelyev, youth pastor of the church “Rosa”, (Moscow, Russia), says, “In my opinion…this form of communication is very relevant since the whole society turns to the screens of computers and smartphones and, accordingly, there are platforms. But globally, this trend is certainly not very good. We just have to take into account the realities that now exist. Given the complexity of identifying a potential mate through social media, I can say that this form of dating has pitfalls. Social media allows a person to form any image they want to, and what you see on your screen may not be the reality you think it is. We’ve heard about these statistics before; we’ve read articles on the subject; and we’ve even seen them firsthand at our meetings. Teenagers stop going to church. Statistics say that 70% of teenagers will stop attending church after high school.
As a teenager who grew up in the church, I had a front-row seat to this mass exodus. I’m not an expert, a researcher, or a pastor, but I do understand teenagers. Teenagers have many reasons to leave the church, ranging from hypocrisy, legalism, and even peer pressure. Despite this external struggle, I know that it shouldn’t be like this because I’m a teenager, and I’m still in the church. I struggled with the same problems that many teenagers claim to have gotten rid of. But I had a solid foundation to fall back on: solid teaching and biblical truths that helped me deal with questions and doubts which served to strengthen my faith in the struggle. Unfortunately, not every teenager can share my experience. Instead of undiluted biblical truths and coherent theology, many of millennials receive a blurred message. They are entertained in a youth group but isolated from the older, wiser followers of Christ. Not good. They are attracted to pizza parties, games, and apps, but they leave these meetings with acute problems of their hearts that remain unanswered. They may not even hear the gospel! Playing games and having a good time was never something that kept me in church or helped me when I faced the tumultuous struggles of my teenage years. Instead, it was the gospel-infused truth that kept me coming back. Pizza parties, games, and apps might keep them for a while, but that’s not enough to sustain them in their faith.
Four Main Themes
Looking back at my own life and my relationships with other teenagers, I found four main themes that we teenagers need to hear in the church that will help us stay strong in the Lord and stay rooted in the church.
Hearing the Bible
Teenagers need a Bible. It contains the answers to their deepest questions and the wisdom for their hardest struggles in life. Please don’t give us a shortened version of it. Encourage us to read it on our own and model a lifestyle based on the Word of God. Create an atmosphere of confidence in the Scriptures that whets our appetites and makes us crave more. A Study Bible is best suited for this.
Hearing about Sin
Clearly, the church should tell teenagers about sin. Not pompously, but lovingly, confidently, and biblically. Our eyes should be open to the fact that sin is not just a sharp Christian word; it is a reality that manifests itself in our daily lives. When we understand the gravity of our sins, our desperate need for grace, and that Jesus is our only hope, our youth groups will be transformed by the renewing of the Spirit (Rom 12:1-2). Only when we see firsthand the depth of our sin can we discover the full power of forgiveness and grace. 
Transformation and Obedience
When Jesus spoke of salvation, He painted a radical picture. He spoke of being born again — a process so radical and exciting that it changes a person’s life forever (John 3: 1-21). He spoke of repentance — turning away from one way of life to accept a completely different one (Matthew 5-7). He spoke of carrying the cross and following Christ to death — of giving up everything for the privilege of knowing and loving Him (Matthew 16:24-26). This is the Gospel that teenagers need to hear. Teenagers need the Gospel and biblical theology to help them survive the quicksand of life and those temporary feelings that might overwhelm them. We need to build our home on the Rock of Jesus Christ, or we will never survive the storms that life fall down upon us (Matthew 7: 24-27).
Following Jesus is not easy. When we learn what the Scriptures say about the daily problems we face, we can make better choices when faced with difficult choices. The question is Will we obey God or compromise? Will we stand firm and risk our reputation and our relationships with our friends or will we prefer to slip back into the abyss a little bit? This is why the church needs to strengthen and equip young people, encouraging them to turn to the Scriptures for comfort and instruction, and why they need to be taught (correct) biblical theology. This is what is needed to ignite the church, creating an adolescent revival of the passion for Christ. Please hear the heart of a teenager. Don’t be afraid to touch on the topics that we need to hear, even if they seem harsh and unpopular, even if they go against modern culture, and even if it seems that we don’t want to hear about it. Tell us anyway!
Here is some related reading for you: How to Teach Your Children About God 
Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
About the Author: Donald Mena is a writer, psychologist, and contributor to writing a paper . He is passionate about talking sharing the truth about the Christian faith to his students and all youth.