April 11, 2006

Winning Gen-X for Christ - Part II

Through my thinking I came up with three steps to making a Gen-X / postmodern friendly church, and want to share them because I feel they are important and dependent on one another.

Create The Right Environment
Create an atmosphere that promotes learning. Imagine in your mind a casual environment where people are coming to relax, learn and follow. That environment should not be formal. Don't make it feel like a rigid environment where they have to be on their best behavior. Salvation is not forefront in their lives, so do not charge at them with that goal. Appeal to how Christianity is relevant in their lives today, and to the fullness of life it can produce. Create a learning environment where they are eager to think about religious subjects and deepening their faith through growth of knowledge. The environment should not be constructed with the ease of leading in mind, but with the ease of following.

Open The Doors
The church should be flexible and open to people showing up, sitting down, and getting to know others. You can't have an environment where people have their own seats they always sit in, or things that can only be done, used, or put away one precise way. You also can't make visitors feel like you are so very thankful they are here because the church just couldn't go on with out them, and would they please consider coming back next week, please, please, please. ;) Be personable with them. This interaction is very much like a blind date between the church and the first time visitor. Treat this situation with the same respect.

Reach Out Gently
As pastor Laura Guy put it, "it's much like feeding a wary deer from your hand." You have to be delicate, and make them comfortable enough to approach you. No fast movements. You can't charge over, open their mouth, force feed them, and make sure they chew it up appropriately. Don't reach out trying to win some for Christ being the first and foremost thought. Beware the salesperson filter! Danger Wil Robinson, Danger! Don't try to sell Christ to them. Instead, let them know there is a place that is open, has friendly people, and is inviting to perusal of the spiritual inventory. Appeal to the challenges they face with Christianity. The bible is a book of old stories written by uneducated people claiming this dude Jesus was born miraculously, died and saved us somehow, and then came back to life. In the words of a postmodern, "Whatever!?"


Blosser said...

Slowly, people are starting to figure out what works with this (my) generation. Slowly. Maybe a little too slowly.

I'm starting to belive, the more I observe, churches trying to fix what they are or tweek the service to meet this generation are missing the mark. Churches are confusing contemporary worship for what is really a need for a post modern church. So many churches are so far from "getting it" that a little change here and tweeking there isn't cutting it and people are leaving. And that is sad to see.

You can't just change the fast movements you make as you're trying to feed a deer. You have to stop making fast movements all together. Radical change, it seems, is impossible for some churches to make.
I may be preaching to the chior, but this forum is a great place for us to figure out what all of this looks like.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

One of your headings "open doors" made me think. I have come to a conclusion that a good church group would have its doors open 24/7. I walk past too many church buildings with their doors closed looking quite detached from the world. When the doors are open I bet your bottom doller that more people start to arrive and better relationships are built because they have found a church which makes efforts to be transparent and open.