On April 3, 2009 a Newsweek article entitled “The End of Christian America” floated some pretty startling facts about the traditional makeup of our nation. “The number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990.” The question then arose, if the national average of nonreligious people doubled in 10 years, will we still be able to call ourselves a Christian nation in a decade? As Newsweek put it, “America’s religious culture was cracking.”
Well it’s 2016 and sure enough, churches are empty. Millennials are the largest generation of Americans to date and according to a fairly recent Pew Research polling “millennials are less religious,” and the least likely to be found warming a pew.
At one point church offered young adults everything they needed: community, networks, a common lingo, automatic friendships, structure, discipline and a place to be social. Think of it. Once upon a time Henry, the bible toting, blue collar worker married Liza, the budding pianist because they both went to and met at the same church. Today we find dates on apps like Tinder and OKCupid. As for community and social events, we read our news on our phones and discover events on Facebook and Twitter.
We find everything we possibly need in venues that aren’t the church. We take classes online and work from home offices or on the go. This is all to illustrate that those structures that used to be necessary to unite us are all as invisible as the internet waves and as ephemeral as pop up beer gardens.
Pew Research identifies that while we are leaps and bounds less religious than our parents and our parent’s parents, we are no less spiritual. In fact spirituality is on the rise.
“[Millennials] are more likely to have a “do-it-yourself” attitude toward religion.”
What does “do it yourself” spirituality look like? Well maybe it looks like an app. To date the Bible app and the Holy Bible app have been downloaded around the world more than 1.2 billion times. These apps are unique in that they offer more than just the the King James Version of the Bible. They’ve partnered with publishers and conservative media outlets to offer devotionals. The only thing they truly get wrong is that their media is pointed at the Christians who identify as the alt-right or conservative. Their idea of spirituality is still surrounded by too much religious packaging like dogma, church denominations, rigid moral consequences, theological statements. That is so not millenial. We don’t want to be told by an institution what to believe about abortion, gay rights, and the death penalty. We don’t want to be hit over the head by yet another person’s personal beliefs.
We are counter culturists, independent thinkers, self starters, off the grid entrepreneurs and anything but conventional. We are each trying to understand our identity, our worth and where we fit into this world. We of course want to do it morally and with the sense that we are not alone. We want to know less about religious structure and more about spiritual application.
Church becoming accessible by an app on your phone is a radical idea, but it’s already happening. Our Bible app is just that, it’s a church outside of church, a network of universal community. And unlike those dogmatic Bible apps that are infused with political beliefs Our Bible app offers spiritually centered devotionals for the rest of us. From now until October 1st the Kickstarter for Our Bible app will be up and seeking backers. Consider joining the conversation. Check out Our Bible app today.