“I quit.”

It’s what at least 649,000 retail workers said in April. Almost 3% of U.S. workers quit.

“My life isn’t worth a dead-end job,” 23-year-old Aislinn Potts of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, told The Washington Post recently.

While some employers have raised their hourly pay to $15, some have not. Workers are leaving for higher-paying jobs and more meaningful vocations.

Not only do they need to earn a livable wage, but with so many variables to include child care, the work and its requirements need to make sense.

Bailout money came and went into the pockets of company CEOs. Employees were shortchanged again. So, they quit waiting around for raises and promotions.

There is no labor shortage just as there is no shortage of Christian believers.

The pandemic has provided some much needed time for reflection, to weigh one’s options, to examine our lives and to consider what and who is making a difference.

Quite honestly, some people were questioning their employment choices and their faith long before COVID-19 existed. Deconstructing and decompressing, the pandemic simply provided a quiet exit.

Likewise, North American churches knew they needed to change to keep younger people interested and engaged.

So, years earlier, they lost the choir robes and hired a praise team and band. They exchanged the pulpit and VIP seating for a stage. Later, they added a video wall.

Pastors traded in robes or suits for ripped jeans, T-shirts and sneakers. Some showed tattoos and piercings. Yes, “come as you are” – but not really.

To be sure, many churches didn’t change and neither did their static websites with an oversized picture of their pastors on the welcome page. Not even COVID-19 made them change their ways.

Services were still held at 11 a.m. and in one location with no COVID- 19 worship instruction update. They refused to offer online giving because some members liked to pass the offering plate.

Well, millennials and Generation Z are opting out of the Christian experience as it used to be. The PBS Newshour reported last year that millennials show the largest generational decline in church attendance.

Too old to simply “wait their turn” for leadership positions, refusing to be treated like children and to participate in their own oppression, they have decided to quit religion.

They are looking for and creating a better and healthier faith tradition that works well with scientific discovery, plays well with other nationalities and faith expressions and doesn’t require they put away their phones or pretend that education doesn’t mean anything.

Still, though millennials are better educated than previous generations, they don’t have the wealth to show for it.

Some members of the Silent Generation have yet to retire (see President Joe Biden at 75 years old, for example), holding on to positions and more importantly to decision-making power.

Baby boomers possess 53% of the wealth, and millennials “own less than 5%,” according to CNBC.

“Forever young,” older generations say. “Wait” while they dye their roots, “wait” while they change the rules, “wait” because “I’ve got shoes older than you.”

But it hasn’t stopped the graying of the North American church. Its money will keep it around through their retirement but then what?

What are younger believers expected to wait around for? We have not been given opportunities to make it meaningful to us. We have been denied authentic, equal and full participation because we don’t give enough money.

Like those retail workers, many of us are saying, “My spiritual life isn’t worth a dead-end religion that begins and ends on Sunday morning, that only benefits those in leadership positions and favors those who have and give the most money.”

Sitting, standing and then sitting again in a pew is just not paying off. Church business as usual isn’t enough and honestly, it never was.

These factory settings just don’t work for us. So, “we quit.”

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