I believe my friend Gabe Martini says it like this, “The Church doesn’t exist to cater to your felt needs; it exists to show you how stupid your felt needs are.”
I’m parapharsing, but something like that. Same goes for this article featured here. Although I don’t really find, not in my study and research of our generation, that Millennials want big bands, big stage, and big lights. In fact, I think more than that that Robert Webber’s assessment is that they are highly liturgical and looking for the opposite. See “The Younger Evangelicals” for more on that.
Nonetheless, I don’t think catering to any should occur, which is a lot of what Gabe’s point is for me. I’ve been on a kick about multi-generational communities in my own personal thinking lately. A community zoned into one generation or demographic and is made up of entirely that particular one is unhealthy and will self implode. I found this article to have some relevancy that would be great to share. Enjoy:
We’ve all read the nauseating statistics that disparage Millennials in regards to church. The list fails to surprise us anymore: Millennials go to church less, pray less, value the Bible less. I’m ready to move on from all this data toward a new church response.
The common line of the previous response creates church in the Millennials image. What do they value, believe, desire? Let’s use that to draw them in. Church is so desperate to reach this unchurched generation they develop a large band with loud music, buy new sound systems, promote twentysomethings to elder positions, create college-centered ministries—whatever it takes to crack the Millennial’s secret code.
What is church and whom does it exist for? Catering to this Millennial group creates a service smorgasbord where one can pick and choose his or her way across the church buffet line, like shops in a strip mall where all the needs of the customers are met in one visit. Church is a school centered on people just their age. Or church is a concert marketing itself so Millennials will attend.
The Church often sends a subtle, dangerous message that it exists only to meet all Millennials’ needs.
When the Church has extended all its resources to indulge one generation, they’ll leave the next behind. What happens when Millennials’ hair turns gray and the Church realizes it must reach out to the next generation instead?
All of this stands in direct contradiction with the picture God has given for how He intends the bride of his Son to operate. On numerous occassions Paul uses the imagery of a body to teach us what the Church should look like, such as in Ephesians 1:22-23: “And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.”
Church isn’t first a building, institution or club. Church is a body comprising people, interactions and relationships. Church is a people.