Posts on social media and the web have for several years been suggesting that many young people raised in evangelical churches have been finding their way to more liturgical traditions. Recently, prominent evangelical Rachel Held Evans, has been in the news for her journey to the Episcopal Church, seeming to typify this meme. And now Kathleen and Kevin-Neil Ward, the Australian bloggers behind Church in a Circle have published a recent post on why young people are seeking old ways of doing church.
In it they write, concerning this shift
Today, something unexpected is happening. There is a small but distinct movement of young people abandoning the smoke machines, multi-purpose buildings and celebrity pastors of recent church models, and heading back towards traditional worship services, where sacraments are central, buildings are beautiful, and the liturgy has a historic rootedness about it. Gracey Olmstead, Rachel Held Evans, Aaron Niequist, Ben Irwin and Erik Parker have written illuminating articles about why young people are embracing “un-cool” church and becoming “liturgy nerds”.
They then offer five reasons which might be driving this, such as as search for authenticity and mystery that are worth a look for church leaders seeking to connect to these people.
But there’s still the question of how much of a real trend this movement represents beyond the anecdotes and personal testimony of a handful of bloggers. If this is true, and I have seen some evidence it might be, in what ways is the Episcopal Church prepared to meet the needs of these liturgical converts and to be a place where they can seek out the authenticity they desire?