SPOTLIGHT: Getting the Millennial’s Perspective

9/5/2017

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Justine Fisler, a member of First Congregational Church of Braintree, UCC, thought that her church didn’t offer activities and discussions that would appeal to millennials, the demographic group born between 1982–2004 (or thereabouts).  She attributed that deficiency to a lack of understanding of her generation, so she decided to share her perspective with the members.
 
“Many times millennials are portrayed as Godless, self-centered, and lazy, and I wanted to show the congregation that is not always the case, and how it is important to make changes with the future generations in mind,” she said.
 
Fisler wrote about her perspective in the church’s monthly newsletter, and it may soon become a regular column. (You can read the article, republished with her permission in our blog section, here.)
 
“I was thrilled to read the article that one of our younger church leaders submitted in our spring newsletter,” said Rev. Michael Frady, pastor of the church.  “I remember thinking, ‘Yes, this is exactly the perspective our church and I need to hear.’”
 
Justine FislerFisler, who considers herself a millennial, is highly committed to the church.  She was raised in a different faith, but attended an interfaith youth group and vacation camp, where she encountered UCC folks to whom she felt a spiritual connection. After college she spent time as an advisor to the youth group and was invited by the then pastor to become a member of the church.  In the years since she has joined, she has been a member of the finance committee, personnel team, visioning board, and she occasionally joins in on Leadership team meetings.
 
Because Fisler is a member of all these various groups, she gets emails from the church office when it is time to contribute to the newsletter.  The email arrived shortly after a conversation with her mother about offhanded comments and an inspiring discussion about the future of the church at visioning board meetings led by Associate Conference Minister Dom Remick.  The three events together fueled her to write the piece.  
 
“I got positive feedback from other members when I presented the idea of writing an article about my concerns,” said Fisler.  “Fortunately, the congregation knows me and knows I respect them, so I am comfortable sharing my point of view, and maybe even providing new insight.”
 
“I do believe our fears and misunderstandings often lead us to overlook a very bright, resourceful, and powerful group that could greatly enhance our efforts to ‘Be the Church of Jesus Christ,’ and it’s time that we begin having conversations that will help us understand their hopes, dreams, desires, and expectations,” said Frady.
 
“In a Biblical sense I think addressing these issues is important because it encourages the members to think of why they have these prejudices and it challenges them to overcome them.  That is how you become a better Christian,” Fisler said. “By being able to accept everyone at face value.” 
 
“Perhaps, somewhat like Job seeing the Lord, after hearing about millennials (and hearing from them) we might come to see them,” explained Frady.  “Members of this amazing millennial generation have much to teach us and much to share in our planning for and praying for the blessings God has in store for us.  We don’t need to repent in dust and ashes, like Job, but we do need to hear how God is speaking through those who have fallen below the church radar.”
 
Fisler is planning to contribute more articles, and helping the church come up with some millennial-focused activities, like pop-up yoga sessions focused on exploring spirituality.  “I think creating more organic type experiences will get more interest in the church,” she said.
 
“I look forward to reading Justine’s next article,” said Frady.  “And I am eager to begin having the conversations that will help us bring a bit more heaven to earth with a powerful force of millennials energizing our emerging vision!”
 
You can read more from Rev. Frady in his blog article “This is the perspective our church needs to hear”
You can access Justine’s blog article here.

You can reach Justine or Rev. Frady at the church office at (781) 843-3616 or email office@firstchurchbraintree.com​.


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