Church Reaches Outside Its Walls to Millennials

Combining religion and social awareness, Central Christian Church provides an outlet for millenials to make a difference.

“This generation is much more concerned with social justice, with action,” said Kristina Fleming, associate minister of Central Christian Church. “Not that our older church generation is not, but this generation I think is unlike any other that we’ve seen.”

Fleming’s observations stem from working as a youth minister for a church in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and now as Central’s new associate minister. She has noted that younger people want to do more than just visit church — they want to get involved.

To help bring more young people to church, Fleming has created a program called Explore Dallas, where millennials meet every other Wednesday to discuss — and often take action — about issues that matter to them.

Whether the group meets in a park one Wednesday to discuss worldly issues, or sends a representative to a meeting about Syrian refugees coming to Dallas, Fleming said Explore Dallas aims to make a difference.

She saw a need for a program like this when she moved to Dallas, and has been running it since this summer. Fleming, who is also a millennial, thinks she knows where the mindset comes from.

“We’re in this post-modern mindset, where we grew up where there were a lot of scandals with authority,” she said, “and so for us, I think we have a harder time trusting people who are in authority because we’ve seen all of these things go terribly wrong, or we just blindly gave money and it was being used for not what it was supposed to be. I think our mindset is that we’re taught to question, much more than the generation above us was, and especially questioning authority.”

Debbie Chisolm, co-pastor of Central Christian Church, said she wants the church to be an important part of the Dallas landscape.

“We want to encourage newcomers and old-timers to explore Dallas and hopefully fall in love with the people and places and that make Dallas an exciting and unique city,” Chisolm said. “Along the way our greatest hope is to create opportunities to experience God in the city.”

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