A Barna study from 2007 found that the three most common words that young church-goers in America use to describe Christianity are: anti-gay, judgmental, and hypocritical (“too political” was also strongly in the mix). And that was 12 years ago! In my anecdotal experience, many of my liberal Millennial friends who grew up in a conservative Christian community are unaware that there are more progressive options out there. They grow up thinking that “church” or “Christian” = “Republican” (or these days, “Trump”), and think “if being a religious person means being an enthusiastic Trump supporter, then no thank you!” This is backed up by political science research (see here and here).
Yet, there are religious communities out there whose membership and theology lean in a more liberal/progressive direction:
Among larger Christian denominations specifically, historically black tradition denominations, the UCC, ECLA, Presbyterian Church (USA), and The Episcopal Church, all teach more progressive theology and focus on social justice issues in the public square. Unitarian Universalists are also notable for their liberal theology and public outreach. Collectively, nearly 20% of the U.S. population claims identity with one one of these communities.
How might these communities more effectively communicate to Millennials and especially the GenZ generation in the U.S. their presence and values so that more of them are at least aware that there are Christian communities that are intentionally not anti-gay and judgmental out there?