Time and again, the assumption among Christian leaders, and evangelical leaders in particular, is that the key to drawing twenty-somethings back to church is simply to make a few style updates – edgier music, more casual services, a coffee shop in the fellowship hall, a pastor who wears skinny jeans, an updated Web site that includes online giving.
In fact, I would argue that church-as-performance is just one more thing driving us away from the church, and evangelicalism in particular.
Many of us, myself included, are finding ourselves increasingly drawn to high church traditions – Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Episcopal Church, etc. – precisely because the ancient forms of liturgy seem so unpretentious, so unconcerned with being “cool,” and we find that refreshingly authentic.
What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.
Now what do we think is gonna happen when those millenials find out that the traditional denominations with the nice liturgies are diametrically opposed to many of the social issues millenials now feel good about, i.e. gay marriage etc.?
I read this on CNN, and it spoke of how people were finding these churches to just go with the flow of the world and not with the way gospel was written. Hopefully they see that gospel is not about feelings but about truth.
(The following message is meant to be less hostile than a 'free-from-physical-and-visual-cues medium will convey)
Do you think we’re stupid? We just happen to wander into buildings, see a pretty liturgy, and then decide we’re going to figure out what this all entails after we wipe the Chrismation oil off our forehead? We are the 'net generation for crying out loud, we know how to google.
Those millenials who are still in churches at all (aka me and my friends) are those who are searching for churches that challenge us, in practice and belief. We want stricter fasting schedules to strengthen our bodies, and solid moral teaching that doesn’t back down and thus make it appear that “No, we didn’t really believe that in the first place.”
We like organic, we like natural, we like authentic, we like roots. Contemporary services are none of the above. They’re synthetic, manufactured, pandering, and new. Technology should be new, because it is. A 2,000 year old religion should look 2,000 years old, or it comes across as grotesque as an 80 year old with a bad face lift.
I’ve heard it explained like this: We don’t want coffee from our church, we can get better coffee at a coffee house. We don’t want loud music and lights, we can get that better at a concert. We don’t want an effort to be casual because we recognize that what we’re doing when we go to Church should be important, and effected casual is see-throgh and pathetic. Everything contemporary style churches offer us are things we can get better from places that are meant to provide that, without having to be challenged morally.
Give us the ancient spirituality that is our rightful inheritance. Give us transcendence and timelessness, demands, respect for God and genuine belief. Also give us the online tithing option though, that’s just helpful.
Yes and no. Obviously the core of the Faith cannot change. But there is a sense in which the Faith is also ever-renewed. Archaism and rubricism are real dangers to authentic worship. That may sound strange coming from an Orthodox, I know.
LoL, oh the horrors of Church coffee. Yes, I think genuine community fostered during “Coffee hour” after Liturgy is very important as well. We just make up for the bad coffee by, instead, having baked potatoes and borscht and baklava and cookies.
I understand what you mean. You’re correct. We have to walk the balance between strict liturgics for the sake of strict liturgics, and throwing everything out just because it’s old.
I have attended and studied an evangelical mega church that was very attractive to fallen away Catholics, and young people. The service started with a short announcement, then worship songs, then a sermon, some more worship, then sometimes an altar call or just a time to go up front for prayer. The church was more like a movie theater with seating, and the seat arms had coffee holders. Free atrocious coffee was available in the lobby and could be drank during services. The sermons were good, and they were Christ centered, and they were not soft on sin. The worship music as you may have guessed was provided by their own rock band. They were simplistic worship songs that said the right things but they certainly lacked the majesty and depth of the old hymns. One thing I hated was how loud the band was. Others complained to the pastor and he brought it up during a service. He claimed a woman told him, “God’s not deaf, you know.” and he snapped back “Well God’s not nervous either.” He was very proud of himself for that remark, and though unkind of me I sort of despised him from then on.
Anyway attendees there felt they got a spiritual experience and grew closer to God. I am not suggesting the Mass be changed at all, but I think it would be good for Catholic churches to also have once weekly priest-led charismatic meetings.
The blogger wrote, ( ***the blogger, not me)***:
"young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."
"obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more than sticking to a list of rules"
“We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.”
Now what are Millenials who go to Orthodoxy or Catholicism going to find? Lots of rules about sex. And a moral theology that teaches homosexual tendencies are intrinsically disordered. What they are looking for (according to the blogger) is not something they will find in the “high church” experience. Not even in the Anglican communion, as long as they’re sticking to “high church”.
So maybe they aren’t doing enough Googling, I don’t know.
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