Recently on Breakpoint I read an interesting article about how "contemporary worship" is failing to keep young people in church or even draw them back. It's a problem I've seen growing ever since I heard a church I used to attend was struggling over the use of drums in the worship service - and the problem of producing a more "contemporary" service. Some churches deal with the tension by having two kinds of service -- one traditional, and another contemporary thinking that segregating people according to their preference settles the issue and makes everyone happy.
It begs the question -- what IS worship?, and that's probably a topic for another posting. For now, here's the Breakpoint article:
Want to attract young people to church? Lose the skinny jeans. For the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.
It’s a familiar sight these days: Churches turning services into rock concerts, adding coffee shops, and dressing their pastors up in skinny-tight jeans and hipster haircuts. Now all of this is done in the name of appealing to young people. But new research from the Fuller Youth Institute suggests none of it works.
Writing at Christianity Today, the team described their findings at 250 congregations around the country that are effectively reaching 15 to 29-year-olds. They discovered that almost every strategy used to attract young people—culturally savvy messages, pastoral attire, church size, location, newness, or worship style—were poor predictors of long-term engagement among the youngest members.
What did work? Treating youth like adults made a huge difference. And churches small and large, traditional and contemporary, that integrated young people and gave them responsibility and leadership were vastly more successful than those that relied only on lattes and light shows.
----- from Breakpoint