Rachel Held Evans wrote a very great article at CNN.com (click here for the full article) about why the Millennial Generation is leaving the church. Recent studies have shown that many young adults are heading to more traditional, high church worship because of the things missing from the hipster churches. When asked how to attract more millennials many churches, pastors, and laity think it is about the ‘cool’ factor. Rachel disagrees. Below are two quick quotes that do a lot to sum her thoughts.
“But here’s the thing: Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters, and we’re not easily impressed with consumerism or performances.”
“You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.” (this one stung a little..okay…A LOT!)
What I read in her article was a relief for me. Attracting young people, millennials, is not about doing A, B and C. It is about authenticity. Are you being authentic in your worship and in your missions. I think she hit the nail on the head that Millennials have a highly sensitive BS meter. They (personally I have one foot in the Millennial and GenX generations so I talk about both of them as ‘they’) can see right through masks many churches put up. They can see authentic a mile away.
Maybe what churches should do is stop worrying about the type of worship and simply learn to do what they do really well. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone just be yourself, and be really great at it. People are attracted and want to participate in authentic worship/missions/small groups/(insert other church functions), no matter if it is high, low or in between.
May we strive for authentic and not cool. What is cool is always changing, authentic sticks around.