If you do a quick search on Google for “church attendance decreases among millennials,” you will see multiple mainstream media stories pop up on your screen. It is a verifiable fact that among millennials, church attendance, and overall interest in religious faith is on the decline.
Churches know this, and many of them are trying to bring millennials back into the church fold. While some are trying more traditional ways in reaching the next generation of Americans by offering Sunday school or small group Bible studies to complement their Sunday services, others are trying more inventive ways of reaching out.
I am all for innovation and trying new ways to reach others with a positive Biblical message. Young Americans need a message of hope, and a local church they can attend that will invest in their lives.
However, in an effort to reach millennials and the upcoming Generation Z with the gospel message, some churches may be trying too hard to appeal to “woke” millennials by becoming too much like the secular culture in which they live.
Previously, I wrote about a San Francisco church that held a “Beyoncé mass” that included songs from the popular singer, but that is just one example of how some churches are possibly crossing a line and going too far in an effort to appeal to the churchless. There are other examples that are equally as concerning.
A pastor at a church in Atlanta announced that aerialists would be a regular part of their worship services. Another church in South Carolina meets at a local tavern on Sundays, which sounds like something the gang on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” would do to try to make extra money at their bar on Sundays when it’s closed. That has sitcom episode plot written all over it.
I know other churches that play secular music before services and replace sermons during summer months with movies including PG-13 films that contain questionable content that thankfully they edit out.
I have no problem modernizing the church by using new technology and contemporary music. If we aren’t offering services that fit today’s society, then no one will be able to relate or will come. For example, there are probably no millennials that would attend a church that performed Gregorian chants. That isn’t going to work in 2018. Times change and the church does need to change some of their methods to keep up with the times.
However, the church needs to be careful in their attempts to reach the world that they don’t become like the world. When deciding on meeting at a bar or trying a new way to present the gospel, we must be careful that we aren’t sending a mixed message to the unchurched that makes certain behavior seem ok. The gospel message should always be clear and never watered-down.
Honest, Biblical truth is what will keep people coming back. If they’re coming simply because of the venue, music style or because they think beer may be on tap, you may be doing church wrong.
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