Maintaining Relevance

Millennials and Young Families

The millennial problem is well written about in the blogosphere and in journalism, and has been for years now. In short, it’s the (sometimes perceived) loss of those in the millenial generation from church attendance. This is typically defined as people who are born between 1980 and 1995. They tend to hate pretense and a lack of genuineness, they tend to be open-minded, they tend to institutional religion, they tend to hate hypocrisy. Also, they are now parents and are raising the next generation of kids. There’s so much written about this group of people that I won’t even bother going into much more than that.

About a year ago, we decided at my church that we needed to find a way to be relevant to people who were increasingly turned off by churches. We specifically said young families, but this includes millenials to a very large degree. What we realized is that millennials interested in attending church – and many are very open to it – demand the church to be of a caliber that equals the degree of spoken respect for the church. In other words, “if it’s important to you then you should treat it as such. If you don’t, then you are a hypocrite and I want no part of that.”

Well, that is something I can stand behind! How many people do we know say that God is number one priority in their lives, but tithing is an afterthought, arriving to work on time during the week is no problem but arriving on time to a ministry commitment is impossible, and so on. This doesn’t exactly demonstrate a priority for the Christ we say we love dearly and owe our lives to.

And the way the church looks is a huge part of that. If we let it become dilapidated, if we don’t maintain it well, if we don’t keep it relevant, then in a generation there will be no more church. So many churches are already closing because they are aging. Previous generations adapted church for the needs of the next generation. Why is our generation any different? Why is it so slow?

 

Appealing through Creativity

At Calvary Hill Church, we decided to make a stand. We got together as a church and we remodeled our platform. It used to look dated, was not very practical, and gave us functionality limited to just a few instruments on a Sunday morning. We kicked off a massive rebuilding plan that replaced everything with clean lines, dark floor and walls, updated lighting, and provided a mechanism for our creativity to be used.

Our God-given creativity. The same God who made thousands of species of flowers, life that is largely inedible and only exists for beauty, is the same God who made us. In His own image he fashioned us, giving us a creative mind and a heart capable of such beauty. Beauty through making something from nothing, beauty through artistic expression like dance or theatre or music, beauty through the spoken word, beauty from everywhere.

After three months of work through almost entirely the talents of the people in our church, we just finished rebuilding the stage. In doing so, created a platform for relevance and God-honoring creativity. And the best part is, it’s just the beginning. Fellowship led to ideas and ideas to momentum. We’re building for the present and the future. We’re working better together as a ministry unit than ever before and our heart as a church is even more galvanized around two critical things: worshiping God and making disciples of the nations.

Author: Bob Miller

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