The past three months of my life have been spent working in a church. One of the most interesting things about this experience has been seeing how the church operates during the week– what makes Sunday morning happen. I have also found that, in most cases, churches are trying to attract new people, and unfortunately, struggling to keep a hold of current attendants. Most church workers will tell you that each week is a constant battle of planning, formatting, and details that constantly have to be done and re-done in an effort to please everybody.
In my ‘church shopping’ while at college, I have found that most churches are either trying to be too hip, or too traditional. Many churches, whether their members realize it or not, struggle to find a happy medium that will attract new members while keeping a hold of current ones.
An article I read recently called How to Keep Millennials in the Church? Let’s Keep Church un-cool. (linked here), conjured up a lot of thoughts in my mind of what I want from the church. Now, I’m not saying I agree with all the points in this article, but there are a lot of good ones. Above all, I believe that the church can bend and change with culture– it has to in order to stay relatable. BUT, I also believe that the gospel never changes, and though it is always relatable, it is also a bit uncomfortable.
I think there is a problem with college students today concerning church. Many people my age stop attending church claiming they just can’t find a church they like. We look for a “cool” church, not a “deep” one. We look for a church with a young pastor and a cafe, rather than one that teaches the word of God in a real and authentic way.
My boss always says he wants his sermons to make the audience “squirm in their seats”. Bottom line: he wants them to be uncomfortable. Not because of the word pictures he uses or because he gets carried away on stage, but because the Holy Spirit spoke through him and convicted the hearts of the people listening.
I think people, especially college students, need to look for “real” not “cool”. Here’s why: Churches run by people 60+ aren’t “cool” and aren’t ever going to be unless 20 somethings get involved and bring a fresh perspective to the never-changing gospel message. I believe a church should welcome people in and make visitors feel comfortable, but that’s where the comfort stops. The worship and message should be so deep, and real that the presence of the all-perfect God becomes blinding in the midst of our tragically imperfect selves.
Don’t look for cool, look for Jesus.