How Many Millennials Do You Think Have Experienced God?

One of the best times in my life was when I taught at a Bible college. I taught from 2001 to 2006. I loved it! I spent many hours with about 400-500 young men and women. To some, I became more than just an adjunct professor; I was a caring pastor, who had them to his house at least once a week. Since then, via social media, I’ve kept my relationship with a number of them.


Reading some of their posts on Facebook over the past several years I realized that since graduation a percentage of my students have either left the church, do not consider themselves Christians, have become agnostic, or even atheists. I was deeply surprised and wanted to know why, so I began to ask questions. This is what I found out.

Some of them left the church because they were disappointed with the metanarrative style of teaching that has distilled Christianity down to a formula. You plug in the right numbers, and the outcome was a life of success, void of disappointments and pain. But these young people painfully asked, “How come my ministry, my marriage, or my business failed? I did all the right things according to what my mentors taught me.”

Some left because of the hypocrisy they saw in their leaders. They desired a level of transparency that was non-existent in their churches. Others left due to a crisis of faith. Once their beliefs were challenged in the real world—outside of their Christian bubble—they weren’t able to rise to the challenge, so they packed up and left. And finally, some left because as Apostle John says, “They did not really belong to us…”

I asked these students, “What made you believe you were a Christian, to begin with?” Some of their answers were: “Well, my parents were Christians.” “I raised my hand at an alter call.” “I went forward when I was 12.” “I said the Sinner’s Prayer when I was in high school.” “I got baptized when I was 8.” “My dad was a pastor and that’s why I went to Bible College.” “I wanted to please my Christian family.”

Almost all of these young men and women have one thing in common, they never experienced God.

Coming into the Kingdom from a Muslim background, I didn’t have a Christian upbringing. I’d never read the Bible. I never went to Church. I didn’t believe in Christ being divine, Son of God, or having died on the Cross. And I definitely never repeated the sinner’s prayer. So, it wasn’t my adequate knowledge of Christ, my moral values, or even the Bible that saved me. It was my “LA Road” experience of Jesus that saved my soul.

It was November 26, 1971. I was riding my motorcycle from Lancaster to Los Angeles, and I simply said, “Jesus if you’re really who these people (my Christian friends) tell me you are, I’ll accept you if…” I didn’t have a light or angels appear to me, but I experienced a presence, a peace that surpasses all understanding, an awareness of a hope that said, “Everything is going tobe OK.” As a result, I felt a sense of purpose for my life. No one can take this away from me. This is something, to my estimation, the above students haven’t experienced.

I realize many Christians believe the word “experience” is an anathema. They say, “Experience cannot be relied upon. After all, even heathens have experiences with the supernatural. What if your experience is from the devil?”

Is it fair to say that with all his knowledge, it was the Burning-Bush experience that brought Moses face to face with YHVH and changed his life forever? Is it correct to say that with all his theological knowledge, Saul, the Pharisee of Pharisees, would have never become Paul the Apostle if he’d not been knocked off his ass on his ass on the road to Damascus? I don’t see any place in the Bible where Paul’s experience was questioned by other Apostles as being suspect.And finally, I remember reading somewhere in my Bible where Jesus said,

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”

Do you honestly believe God lets Satan step in when men or women sincerely ask the Lord to reveal himself because God is not into experiences? Is your god that weak and heartless?

Even after all these years, I will not be shaken because no one can ever take my experience away from me, or prove it wrong. Someone could shred the Bible in front of me and prove every word is a lie. They can question my faith and show me all the places in my life where God did not live up to his supposed promises. But it will mean nothing because I know I’ve been touched by someone transcendent, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I am convinced with all my heart what this generation of Millennials needs is to experience the Creator, or as they like to call him, the Divine. Are we, the followers of Christ, equipped to create an environment where these young people can experience the living God? If you know the answer, please share it with us. And if you don’t, would you like to know how?






7 thoughts on “How Many Millennials Do You Think Have Experienced God?

  1. Everyone starts with an experience. As you’ve stated, Paul was knocked off his horse.

    Nathaneal believed because Jesus told him He saw him under a tree.

    However, everything is an experience.

    It is quite miraculous that God breathed into some scribbles written thousands of years ago, and reflected light can enter your brain through eyes, and God can transform your mind through the words He Himself has inspired.

    Others believe by hearing the word. The Spirit does the work.

    The parable of the sower mentions no super-mystical phenomena.

    It is also a miraculous experience to have the Living Logos plant Himself travel upon sound waves, through the ear and be planted in a fertile heart like a seed, take root, be nurtured and bear fruit.

    So whether you have to be knocked to the ground and blinded (perhaps because you’re kicking to hard against the goads), or stick your fingers in His wounds after he walks through a wall, hear someone glorify God as they are being stoned to death, be visited on the road as you discuss the recent events, or maybe just read or hear the word of truth.

    Maybe the only environment necessary is to speak the Truth in love, not be ashamed of the gospel which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, since it is the Spirit that draws and works as He wills.

    Did these students not hear the gospel from their parents, their professors, or at your house?

    Was it your fault these students do not believe after living with Christian family, going to Bible college, and being invited to your house?

    I don’t have the answer, but I’m pretty certain God does, and that’s my experience.


    1. So sorry for my late reply. For some reason, I forgot to reply to this one.

      We have no argument in the first part of your reply. And to be very very clear, I NEVER said that you can’t experience God by hearing his word.

      As for the above students, not all of them came to my house. However, they not only had heard the Gospel message all their lives, many of them could parse Greek and Hebrew words so well that it would put many Bible students to shame. So, the issue wasn’t not knowing their Bible. They knew it very well, but apparently, knowing the Bible and knowing the God of the Bible were two different things for these students.

      By the way, there are many excellent Bible scholars who are just that, scholars. They do not believe in the God of the Bible and study the book as an ancient literature the way a Shakespearian scholar studies Shakespear.

      I will reply to your other comments soon. I have not been ignoring you.


      1. I am aware that many know the scriptures and either don’t believe or twist them. Pharisees, Saducees, kabbalists, and skeptics and spiritualists of all kinds. My point is that our responsibility is to speak the truth in love and let God be God. The Spirit does the drawing. He Himself tills the heart and gives the increase. No man can “create” an environment where people can “experience” God. You state these people don’t believe because they haven’t experienced God, and imply that you will be able to guide them into that experience. Jesus said, even someone won’t believe by reading the law and prophets, even someone returning from the grave will not convince them. We plant, another waters, God gives the increase. It’s uo to Him to give people experiences.


  2. I grew up in the Catholic faith. I followed the rules. I prayed for my family. In those days they had “indulgences” attached to certain prayers. That is, you get get yourself, or others out of purgatory by saying these prayers. Some of these prayers had a “plenary indulgence” attached. I had a list of my loved ones. I said the prayers for all of them so they would not have to go to purgatory, but straight into heaven! (Oh the innocence of childhood.)
    Years later, in my twenties, after having given up my faith at age 18, I found God. One minute I believed Marx was correct in saying “religion is the opiate of the people” and Nietsche “if there were no God, man would invent him”, the next minute I knew God was real. I can’t tell you how I knew, but I felt an overwhelming sadness…that He was mourning for me…that my life could be so much more. At that moment, he was truly my Father who loved me and my life was tearing Him apart.
    You are right. It has been almost 42 years since that day, and I have never forgotten it. In fact, I suppose someone could torture me, and in my weakness, I could deny my faith, but I could never “un-believe” God is real.
    Thanks for the insight into the Millenials, our two daughters are in that age group. I know they have experienced the presence of God in their lives. Maybe they have forgotten, or maybe the choice to follow the leadership of Jesus is not a choice they want to make…I’ll keep praying. No one knows the heart of man except God.


    1. Dear Victorius,

      I love, love your comment, “I suppose someone could torture me, and in my weakness, I could deny my faith, but I could never “un-believe” God is real.” because no one can take away your experience with God. As a young evangelical, I went through a period where I was taught that experience is not important because you can’t trust it. However, as I got older in the Lord, I realized that the whole Bible is a combination of man’s experience with God and experience does matter.

      You’re an excellent writer because your writing leaps out of your heart. Keep loving God and continue to write about your experience with him.

      Liked by 1 person

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