Christian Chronicle

Can Churches of Christ reach millennials?

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Florida church planters look to the Bible for inspiration as they seek to ‘reclaim’ a skeptical generation.

First Place, Theme Issue, Section or Series, Associated Church Press (for “Big Questions” project)

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

Roslyn Miller’s heritage in Churches of Christ runs deep.

However, Reclaimed Church — the congregation she’s helping plant in Orlando, Fla. — is not a mirror image of her childhood church.

The Florida believers meet in “missional communities” in homes rather than a dedicated facility. Everyone comes with a song, a prayer, a Scripture or a word of encouragement. An extended time of fellowship over larger-than-traditional portions of bread and the cup marks the weekly communion.

“This work was born when my husband, Andy, and I and two other families were distressed over the decline of Churches of Christ in number and influence,” said Miller, 54, the daughter and sister of preachers. “So we discussed what we could do to change that trend.”

In the last three decades, the number of adherents in Churches of Christ has dropped to 1,443,738, according to a national directory published by 21st Century Christian.

That figure represents a 14 percent decline from 1,684,872 baptized believers and their children reported in the same survey in 1990.

“We began to discuss this scenario: If we had no church background and read the Bible today for the first time — and wanted to follow it and be the church presented in the New Testament — what would that look like?” Roslyn Miller said.

Their conclusion: They could be the church they read about in the New Testament and minister to the young adult generation known as millennials — many of them fitting the definition of religious “nones.”

Read the full story.

This story appears in the December 2018 edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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