Monday, January 19, 2015
As in most of our speaking settings, we allow a portion of our presentation to be a time of questions and answers. And inevitably someone will ask us about the worship style preferences of the Millennials.The answer he does have about what they want is now heard so often it is almost trite - "authenticity." I am struck by how much that sounds like my generation oh so many years ago.
Typically the context of the question emanates from a background of nearly three decades of "worship wars." In other words, on what "side" are the Millennials? Traditional? Contemporary? Or somewhere on the nebulous spectrum of blended styles?
And though Jess and I did not originally ask those questions in our research, we have sufficient anecdotal evidence to respond. And our response is usually received with some surprise. The direct answer is "none of the above."
Most churches hear that and they think that means they have to amp up the service so people are REALLY praising.
Most Millennials mean that they are looking for faith that matters, and not just empty words or the sort of emotional high that commonly comes in churches these days. But I have a problem with how they define what matters. It seems like unless you are willing to drop everything, beg older people to give you money so you can go to 3rd world nation X and help them, your faith is not real or genuine. This too sounds a bit like my generation decades ago.
My father was hard core Missouri Synod Lutheran. He had about as broad a spectrum view of what it means to be the church as a Protestant can have. He did not talk faith much nor was he quick to join the latest mission to wherever. It took me a long time to realize just how deep and genuine his faith really was. It wasn't measured in the poor he fed or the money he raised. It was measured in his character and his commitment to those around him. His call was to make the world better right here right now, not over there and with them. Those with plenty to eat have needs too - just different ones than those short food.
Dad's faith was deeply authentic, but it was not showy - it was foundational. You'd never see it unless you looked.
I pray Millennials can see such foundational faith.