There are good reasons, culturally, why church does not work for many people, especially many young people. By and large church is a place where human beings come to interact together in person and inter-generationally, discuss an ancient text, and participate in a bunch of archaic rituals. In short, it is a counter-cultural situation in the extreme. A very common response to the counter-cultural character of church is to try to make the church “relevant,” which is often a synonym for non-counter-cultural, hip, trendy, and full of Power Point.
A few words on relevancy: making your church hip and trendy (coffee bar; free wireless; pastor with tattoos and ripped jeans) will probably draw in the young people. If your only goal is getting young people in your door, these things will work. Free alcohol will work even better (I guess you could advertise the Eucharist that way…). I don’t have a problem with coffee, wireless, tattoos or ripped jeans or thimble-size-sips of alcohol. It’s just that, what do these things have to do with being relevant?
That’s Tamie Harkins in her blog post Making the Church More Accessible to Folks Under 35.
She lists six “finding ways” like,
2. Some Sunday, in place of the sermon, have everyone get in pairs in which the age differential must be at least 30 years. Have the pair ask each other these questions: What brings you joy? What is really hard in your life right now? Describe for me what an ordinary day is like for you. What is one of your great regrets? What is something you have done that makes you really proud of yourself? The idea here is for people of different ages to begin to know each other.
Are you up for it?