The Barna Group and Cornerstone Knowledge Network have recently released a study called Making Space for Millennials. This study looks at the preferences of millennials and how that might impact how physical space in worship communities is designed and utilized.
When asked to describe their ideal church, ‘community,’ ‘sanctuary,’ ‘classic,’ and ‘quiet’ came out on top, which should be good news for most Episcopal churches, however;
“less than half of survey respondents preferred the word “traditional” over “modern.” And herein lies a cognitive dissonance common to survey participants. Many of them seem to aspire to a more traditional church experience, in a beautiful building steeped in history and religious symbolism, but they are more at ease in a modern space that feels more familiar than mysterious.”
The study does not suggest that space alone will attract or retain young people, but it does call upon churches to examine the ways in which their spaces connect people to God and implicitly tell the story of God’s mission through the church.
“It’s tempting to oversimplify the relationship between Millennials and
sacred space. For instance, it might be easy to believe such a place needs to
look ultra modern or chic to appeal to teens and young adults. But the truth,
like so much about this generation, is more complicated—refreshingly so.
Most Millennials don’t look for a church facility that caters to the whims of
pop culture. They want a community that calls them to deeper meaning.”
How does the space you worship in color your experience of God? Is your church a place where you do feel connected to God?