Imagine a 28-year-old who has two degrees, tons of friends on Instagram and Facebook, on Friday nights they are at the bar taking shots screaming “TURN DOWN FOR WHAT”? While it may look like they are having fun, that same 28-year-old uses a friends Netflix password because they can’t afford the subscription. They hate that they still live in their parents’ house but can’t afford an apartment and they are stressed because the little job they have is about to come to an end. In light of all that they are facing they hold the shot glass in their hand an say, “Turn Down For What”?
Turn down for what is a phrase that has creeped into everything. I’ve even heard it used by a principle during the commencement address for a high school. To make matters worse, my mother posted it on her Instagram. While the phrase is popular and used in various situations, the term was given birth in 2013 when Dj Snake and Lil Jon released the song, “Turn Down For What”. The song encourages nonstop drinking because the question has yet to be met with a good answer. It could be said that this song describes the current situation of many millennials.
Given that the millennial generation is now the largest in American history, everyone from cooperate executives to senior pastors are trying to understand us (yes I’m a millennial). Some say that we are lazy because we don’t go to work early and stay late like previous generations. Some say that we walk around with a sense of entitlement. What is not shared is that 79% of millennials are in debt and only 10% say their jobs fulfill their career goals. Dr. Jean Twenge the author of “Generation Me” shares in her research that millennials are prone to suffer from depression when the things they’ve been taught to value come crashing down. While the song may be popular maybe it’s speaking to a deeper issue.
We are the generation that has experienced 9/11, 2 wars, Hurricane Katrina, school shootings, high unemployment and the failure of large institutions.
As a pastor I’m troubled by another statistic, 60% of millennials walk away from faith or the church once becoming adults. Below are some of the reason given for turning away from church.
1. The Church doesn’t have a website
To be honest this one was pretty difficult for me to even share. I have a background in technology and for the life of me I can’t understand how any church, business isn’t online. I mean at the least a church should have a presence on social media.
2. Member of the club
Have you ever attended a church and felt like you were not a member of the club? You walk in with a nice blue suit or dress on only to see that everyone is dressed in red for “flower club” day and they look at you like you should have known. Too many churches are inward focused and have forgotten to regularly take part in the local community.
3. For Coloreds and White Only
Some of us did not grow up in a country where signs like, “White Only” or “For Coloreds” were the norm yet far too many churches reflect this today. Milliannals are considered the most diverse generation in America’s history we DO NOT want to see a racially divided church.
As a pastor I believe that God can use the church to strengthen Americans largest generation. A new great awakening could be ahead of us if we are willing to speak to issues faced by Millianials. The Millianials have asked our country and our churches to answer the question, “Turn Down For What”?