A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Millennials, Worship, and the Authentically Obvious

Thom Rainer has a very good post about what attracts Millennials to worship. Thom writes,
...most Millennials don't think in the old worship war paradigm. In that regard, "style" of worship is not their primary focus. Instead they seek worship services and music that have three major elements.
They desire the music to have rich content. They desire to sing those songs that reflect deep biblical and theological truths. It is no accident that the hymnody of Keith and Kristyn Getty has taken the Millennials by storm. Their music reflects those deep and rich theological truths.

The Millennials desire authenticity in a worship service. They can sense when congregants and worship leaders are going through the motions. And they will reject such perfunctory attitudes altogether.
This large generation does want a quality worship service. But that quality is a reflection of the authenticity noted above, and adequate preparation of the worship leaders both spiritually and in time of preparation. In that sense, quality worship services are possible for churches of all sizes.
So what churches are Millennials attending?
Millennial Christians, and a good number of seekers among their generation, are gravitating to churches where the teaching and preaching is given a high priority. They are attracted to churches whose focus is not only on the members, but on the community and the world. Inwardly focused congregations will not see many Millennials in their churches.
And you will hear Millennials speak less and less about worship style. Their focus is on theologically rich music, authenticity, and quality that reflects adequate preparation in time and prayer.
But they will walk away from congregations that are still fighting about style of music, hymnals or screen projections, or choirs or praise teams. Those are not essential issues to Millennials, and they don't desire to waste their time hearing Christians fight about such matters.
There's good stuff here that the church should consider. But as one who has followed generational studies in the past, the one about authenticity always causes me to chuckle. That's exactly what was said about the Gen-Xers and then the Boomers before them. Every generation wants authenticity. When I hear someone say, "Yeah, the Millennials want authenticity," I think to myself, "Yep, and the previous generations could care less about it. They were just fine with fakery.

Generational studies are good and need to be considered, but let's quit appealing to authenticity as a particular generational characteristic. Every generation wants authenticity, whether it's in worship, or in church in general, or in anything else for that matter.

Let's refrain from making the standard something unique.

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