I often hear pastors encouraging their church members to be Bereans (those that search the Scriptures to make sure was is being taught is right; Acts 17) but rarely do I feel like they mean it. Typically, and sadly, most church attenders take the pastor at his word and trust that he is the one that is trained and he must be an expert. This generally works if the pastor is preaching Biblical truth as the apostles did but occasionally there is the misguided interpreter of Scripture preaching to hungry souls tainted meat. That is when the Bereans among us come it, search the Scriptures and reveal the truth.
New research suggests that Millennials are living out their cultural experience of “fact checking” at church and becoming new Bereans within the church. This is a good thing. The Barna report concluded: “The one-way communication from pulpit to pew is not how Millennials experience faith. By nature of digital connectedness, Millennial life is interactive. For many of them, faith is interactive as well—whether their churches are ready for it or not. It’s an ongoing conversation, and it’s all happening on their computers, tablets and smart phones. What’s more, many of them bring their devices with them to church. Now with the ability to fact-check at their fingertips, Millennials aren’t taking the teaching of faith leaders for granted. In fact, 14% of Millennials say they search to verify something a faith leader has said. A striking 38% of practicing Christian Millennials say the same.”
Pastor, you are on notice, the Millennials are checking your proclamation. Preach grace. Do it well.
Just this morning a young adult asked me to look at a text because he was concerned that during a recent sermon the preachers used the Scripture to prove a point that it did not (it was taken out of context). He was right. He desired truth and when he heard something wrong he checked it out. He encouraged me by caring to be a Berean.