Writer Andrea Palpant Dilley, in Duke Divinity’s Faith & Leadership blog, advises church leaders trying desperately to attract and retain young people to “change carefully and wisely”:
Consider the changes that people go through between age 22 and 32. Consider that some of us in time renew our appreciation for the strengths of a traditional church: historically informed hierarchy that claims accountability at multiple levels, historically informed teaching that leans on theological complexity, and liturgically informed worship that takes a high view of the sacraments and draws on hymns from centuries past.
Some of us want to walk into a cathedral space that reminds us of the small place we inhabit in the great arc of salvation history. We want to meet the Unmoved Mover in an unmoved sanctuary.
So as you change — or as change is imposed upon you — keep your historic identity and your ecclesial soul. Fight the urge for perpetual reinvention, and don’t watch the roll book for young adults.
We’re sometimes fickle. When we come, if we come, meet us where we are. Be present to our doubts and fears and frustrations. Walk with us in the perplexing challenge of postmodern faith.