A Glimpse into Millennial Christians in China

The young Christians in the worship service.
The young Christians in the worship service.
By CCD contributor: Xiao BinJuly 25th, 2018

The new generation has grown up in the 21st century. Many great changes have taken place in today's society with good material conditions.

Take my campus fellowship for example. In the past decade, I have seen obvious changes in the millennial Christians.

New generation Christians

Most young Christians I know are second-generation Christians who inherit Christian faith from their parents but not identically, but the other walk on the faith journeys consistently with the way how their parents step on. 

Second-generation Christians 

The first type of Christians inherit a devout religious belief from the older generation. 

They regularly attend church with good manners, cautious about their beliefs. Parents often exhort them to read the Bible, pray, and go to church on time over the phone. 

The second type of Christians receive a heritage of freedom that is compared to a restrained state. 

They are more likely to come from comparatively open and democratic families. They have good plans about their life and faith and move towards their goals step by step. Having a stable church life, they are balanced in faith and studies. They are good students at school and can shoulder responsibilities alone in the church where they serve within their power.

The third category are as not serious about their faith as their parents. 

There is a large percentage of Christians who don't join in more than ten church meetings during the four years of university. They only appear in new student welcome gatherings, Christmas services, and picnics. 

Some of their parents are new converts who don't have strong religious commitments, so religious beliefs seem nothing to them as well. In contrast to the rich campus life, a dull church life is not necessary. 

The fourth ones follow the parental principles of utilitarianism and selfishness.

Many young believers never attend church when life is smooth, but their appearance in the church shows that they are in trouble. They may follow their parents' utilitarian and selfish principles of faith. They ask all the members to pray for them, ask professional matters, or collect donations. 

Even some inherit the beliefs mixed with fear and superstitions from their parents.

Their faith is based on lots of wonders and miraculous signs, and for them, God is easily angered. They think that they have bad luck as the punishment if they don't go to church. 

Following their parents' faith, the other sorts pursue faith and its forms. 

Some hold that their parents are too superstitious and they are more reasonable.

One of the things they hate is that their parents choose not to see the doctor or take medicine when they are ill. They don't figure out why the older generation deify some preachers to the extent that they accept all their teachings even if their instructions are incorrect. The new generation are regarded as aliens in their hometown churches and split hairs and find troubles in their parents' eyes. They rarely idolize preachers and make comments on sermons. Despite their remarks seem embarrassing, they don't compromise. 

Some argue that their parents' faith life is too dull and theirs are more lively. 

Fond of freedom, these Christians tend to like energetic meetings. In tedious meetings, they phub, take a nap or leave in advance in protest against the dullness. 

Some think that they have richer faith than their parents' vacuous one.

Their parents' faith is separated from their real faith. However, the millennials want to apply the messages from the pulpit into their life and live out faith. They refuse empty interpretation of scriptures.

Some believe that they have more pure faith than their fathers and mothers. 

To their way of thinking, their parents make profits from their faith. It is reportedly that few young Christians only pray for problems without any human effort. 

Like their parents, the last kind don't want to pay any price for their faith. Knowing the existence of God is enough for them. 

Their parents may be preachers or godly Christians, but they are the opposite. I guess that they are frightened at the high price their parents pay for faith and the sacrifice is unreasonable. As a result, they adopt the nearly reverse way to avoid paying the price.

Besides, some first-generation Christians I'm acquainted with receive no religious inheritance from their parents, on the contrary, they should influence their parents' religious choices. They are excellent in belief shaping and personal growth, who ae much better than many second-generation Christians in many aspects.

- Translated by Karen Luo

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