I was going to blog about something completely different today, but this blog crossed my path. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for my other musing because I need to reflect on this blog post now. This hit me square between the eyes as I continue to struggle with issues such as attracting young adults, both married and single, to our traditional church with the steeple. I’ve actually been guilty of using that word mentioned, “relevant,” when I say things like, “We need to make the church ‘relevant’ for young adults.” Hmmm . . . .
Our church is surrounded by “seeker” churches who have praise and worship with Christian rock music and fog machines, laid-back coffee house atmospheres, and high-energy children and youth programming during worship. These are all really cool – I’ve experienced them and everyone seems happy and relaxed there. I, however, never have. I was raised in the church, and at 42-years-old, I appreciate the history, creed, and doctrine of the church. I find it hard to fit all of that into the more modern mold – not that the modern mold is bad and not doing a great job of getting the Gospel to those who may not know it, but I feel that something is missing. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it until I read this blog post.
I’ve asked this question before, so I’ll pose it again. Should the church conform to society, or should society take the church for who she is, doctrine and all? Are we watering down our message for the sake of being “relevant?” I honestly am not sure. The real question is, how do we reach young adults, especially those who have never been a part of the church, if we continue being the same traditional high-church their grandparents attended? This even touches a little on my previous posts because I think there is a societal assumption that churches are judgmental, full of gossip, and corrupt. Well, if you fill a building with 1,000 people you are bound to have sin in the midst, so . . . yea, it happens. This may be partly why young adults stay away. I’ve always assumed that we just ‘need to get them in the door,’ hence why I’ve always advocated for a more modern and edgy way of doing ministry and all print publications. I mean, if we look “cool,” then I guess we’ll draw them in, right?
This is probably the million dollar question, so if you have the answer I’d love to know it. Part of me knows that the powerful message of the Gospel told in it’s entirety and without the fluff is one that would touch all who heard it and truly transform lives. The other part of me is very aware that the church, especially the traditional ones, is not a place that will naturally attract young adults and/or those of any age who have no desire to grace the front door. So how do we do it? How do we attract while remaining true to the original mission of the church?
I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave this one hanging because I have no complete answer to this. I serve a church that worships 1,000 per week and is loaded with kids, youth and adults. But, as the blog I referenced shared so eloquently, the demographics missing are young adults single and married (without kids – they tend to gravitate back when the kids show up). The few that we do have long for others in their age-range and hunger for community with them. How do you present your church in a way that attracts them and lets them know that they NEED to hear this message, to be a part of a community of faith (oops, I used another of ‘those’ words, didn’t I?). See . . . never-ending.
Well, this is a true ‘musing’ because I’m offering no solution. Perhaps you have one! I love the church and I get excited thinking of how we can transform the world through our message of grace, hope and love. I do agree with the author of this other blog, though . . . fellas, please refrain from the skinny jeans because you just look silly ;).