January 3, 2005

A Hunch

I have a hunch. I was thinking about the postmodern generation and a new ministry team I'm on at my church. We're supposed to make some kind of recommendation to the church about what to do about the new emerging generations.

Perhaps what we've been looking for is so simple we missed it. Simplicity. Honesty. Mystery. A way to slow down and experience God amidst the craziness and chaos of the postmodern world.

I have noticed this in the evoluation of the young-adult ministry at my church. Yes, sorry to you ultra-conservatives, I used the "e-word." Anyway. Access started out as a ministry designed for young adults, a "community" with a worship service and time to hang out and eat. We started with 60 people at the first one. And then it failed; attendence fell immediately and we never had the same people at a service, save the team. Then we tried simpler services that took less time to plan (three hours of planning meetings every week were killing us, especially since we only had one service a month). That failed, in much the same way, but we started having a few of the same people coming. So we tried again; take-three. This time we just threw our ministry models out the window and said "what do these people need?" So we just started saying "hey, you should come to this place at this time and we'll hang out." And suddenly we started growing. We doubled in two months, and we're having our third this coming sunday. We're even moving to a less-formal location.

The point is that suddenly, when we made everything simple, honest, and found out what the needs of these people really was, we started to grow. This generation's needs are not answers, but rather, they desire communication. Honest, open communication. They want, dare I say it, a family to ask the hard questions with, to laugh and cry with, to walk the road of life with. They don't want someone to give them all the anwers in a box with a nice ribbon and a scripture tract with an invitation to the next church service which will answer all their questions. They want to find out the answers with other people, to explore, to be creative, to think. It's not even a "young adult" mentality. It's an open-minded open-hearted mentality, a "young-minded" mentality. Yes, there were people older than 29 there at our last meeting, and I hope they come again and invite their friends.

How should a service reflect this mentality? I don't know, but I'm willing to bet that it's going to mean a lot less meetings, and that makes me really happy.


Jutz said...

Also, you spelled the "e-word" wrong, thereby offending ultra-conservatives AND English majors.

Anonymous said...

i do believe you've hit upon something very important... remember it.