Millennials: In search of a bigger God

In a recent blog post, Shaun Pillay, the new minister of evangelism and discipleship at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, shared his thoughts about engaging more millennials.

You may recall that Shaun said millennials are looking for vibrancy, a sense of realness and something sacrificial. Here’s the link:

That makes millennials especially well-suited to taking part on Shaun Pillay, far left, the new minister of evangelism and discipleship at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, and Pastor Ted Traylor talk with FBW Executive Editor Kevin Bumgarner.mission trips, community outreach and church plants. Those things check all their boxes.

But some of you wondered what those same tendencies meant for the future of corporate worship, which requires attributes such as spiritual discipline, including a sense of gratefulness. I asked Shaun about that, and here’s what he said:

“It has been written that millennials are not looking for a hip pastor, or hip-hop pastor,” Shaun said. “They are searching for a bigger God. And many of us have taken the attention away from a big God trying to create environments to attract the millennial. The Word teaches us the Gospel will preach and save souls—not the atmosphere.”

That sounds like good news, but I wanted Shaun to elaborate.

So what do we call the church building?, he asked rhetorically. We call it a sanctuary. And that works well for millennials, because they hunger for a place of rest and spiritual reset.

“They are the most busy scheduled people that we find today,” Shaun explained. “Leaving early in the morning, coming in late at night. And they want to see the church as a place of rest, and to be challenged by the Word.”

If you missed anything during your own busy week, I filed several blogs from my conversation with Ted Traylor, the lead pastor at Olive. Here’s what we talked about: Dr. Traylor shared his secret sauce for helping visitors to Olive feel special: We also talked about his thoughts on supernatural living and personal revival: And, I wrote about Dr. Traylor’s commitment to helping young pastors:

This is the last blog from that interview. I hope you have enjoyed these insights from Olive Baptist Church’s leadership as much as I have enjoyed bringing them to you.

A video of our conversation will appear on later this month, and an edited version of our conversation will appear as the “Behind the Pulpit” feature in the April print edition of the Florida Baptist Witness, which will be mailed to subscribers on March 30th.

Kevin Bumgarner is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. He can be reached via email at, and followed on Twitter @FBW_editor

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