Stop Trying to Make Church ‘Cool’ (Ashley Diaz, Feb 23-March 1st Discussion)

Rachel Evans of the Washington Post argues in her article “Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’”, that attempts to make church cooler by many religious institutions of today, are driving millennials away. Church attendance by millennials has steadily decreased over the years, causing many churches to take business-like approaches to attracting back followers.

In her op-ed, Evans questions the effectiveness of these methods. Evans suggests that these tactics being used to help draw millennials back into church, have actually caused a bigger decrease in attendance. Research supports these claims, as Barna Group and the Cornerstone Knowledge Network have found that 67 percent of millennials prefer “traditional” churches to “trendy” churches. Further research shows that 77 percent of millennials choose a “sanctuary” formatted church over an “auditorium” formatted church.

This article shines a spotlight on the commercialization of today’s religious institutions, as many churches now have marketing campaigns, merchandise, and prize sweepstakes. Statistically speaking, the decline of church attendance by millennials is hard to dispute. And while the commercialization of religious institutions may be a cause of this, suggesting it to be the primary or only reason for this trend is premature. Commercializing religious institutions can be the cause of many conflicts of interest, and may possibly be the cause of a declining number of millennial visitors. But in today’s world, a world of instantly accessible information and computers.

Discussion:

Does the way the church reaches out to younger generations need to evolve with the times? Would you prefer the traditional and simple church or rather it be more modern and updated to todays world?

Work Cited:

Evans, Rachel. “Want Millennials Back in the Pews? Stop Trying to Make Church ‘cool.'” The Washington Post. WP Company, 30 Apr. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jesus-doesnt-tweet/2015/04/30/fb07ef1a-ed01-11e4-8666-a1d756d0218e_story.html?utm_term=.f10edab277b5

27 thoughts on “Stop Trying to Make Church ‘Cool’ (Ashley Diaz, Feb 23-March 1st Discussion)”

  1. I do think the way the church reaches out to younger generations need to evolve with current time, but not to much to where it loses its true purpose. If I really had to choose just one, I would choose the traditional and simple church because I think that if the church was more modern and updated to todays world, it would lose its meaning and purpose.

  2. I believe that churches should try to attract people by changing or shifting in any ways only because those who wish to attend church will and no matter how bad you want to attract younger generations they either will or will not come based on their own interest. I agree with Karissa that changing can cause it to loose its purpose.

  3. I also agree that churches don’t need to “become cool” just to attract millennials. When it comes to churches, they have a very traditional, set appearance; trying to be hip just makes them seem as if they are trying too hard. I think churches should focus and attracting people for the purpose to share God’s word and not only seek millennials. I believe that churches should keep their traditional sort of appearance, but of course they can go modern if they choose. I only really think that churches should update according to the modern decisions like same-sex marriage. They don’t have to alter their appearance to attract millennials, they just need to change slightly to adjust to what millennials support (like same-sex marriage).

    1. I agree with Becky that churches should focus on attracting people for the purpose to share God’s word and that churches should keep their traditional sort of appearance. For the same-sex marriage, I know that Catholic churches should be welcoming them to come to mass, but if the couple do act upon themselves, something will be told to them such as please do not do that while here at church.

    2. Becky, I totally understand what you mean, but sadly the church will not allow two people of the same gender to be married in a Christian or Catholic church under God. Only due to the fact that the Bible does not “recognize”. Marriage is for two people of different genders to come together under God to create new life and pass down their Christian beliefs.
      Although, what many people do not know is that, this does NOT mean members of the LGBTQIA+ community cannot attend mass and other church events.

  4. I believe that churches should try to evolve with the younger generations, whilst keeping the traditional roots! Speaking from personal experience, sometimes going to church with “old school” folks, makes me feel uncomfortable in the sense that I feel as if I am doing something wrong…or that they judge me because I’m younger and don’t really follow their way of praising etc. So if the churches were to modernize, it would be easier for the young generations to understand and stay engaged! Also, times change and they way people learn and express themselves also change, so it would be appropriate.

  5. I agree that churches do need to evolve the way they preach the gospel/ message, but obviously making sure that they don’t lose the true purpose, which Karissa explained. In my personal experience/ opinion I never really enjoyed going to the “teen” or younger generation outreaches. It seemed like they were trying too hard to connect with the younger generations that it didn’t seem natural. I definitely prefer going to traditional services because it keeps it simple and meaningful for all audiences.

  6. I believe the church doesn’t have to do some extra stuff to attract young followers. it should stay the way it is, with the same rules. it should have some programs that teach teens about the bible but it shouldn’s change the way is it just because it isn’t considered cool.

    1. If the church stays the same and all, it would make the youngers not want to go to attend or follow because they are so focused on the new and modern ways. What kind of teaching should the church do to get the teen to follow?

  7. I have seen firsthand a church’s way of reaching out to the younger generations and I do not think it is effective/ needed. Similarly to Francesca I have never liked going to “youth” outreaches because it’s always felt forced. However I do appropriate those churches that attempt to make the bible more accessible for modern day audiences (youth) because it makes it easier to understand. I don’t think I have a preference, as long as I would be going, that’s all that matters.

    1. I understand and you are right, its great to see churches reaching out to the younger generations by creating a more youthful environment. I know that some services in traditional settings can be boring or sometimes it’s hard to connect with, so the “youth” outreach really helps. But again, the only reason why I don’t like the youth services is cause it seems like they are trying so hard to connect with the younger audience that I personally have been pushed away by it. Just like what Zeyna said, churches shouldn’t do anything extra to make younger people feel like they have to do extra. Talking to them and discussing with them could do the trick.

  8. I believe that the way the church reaches out to younger generations do not need to completely evolve with the times but, instead, try to be more creative in the way they try to attract the youth. I think the way the Gospel and passages from the bible, as well as the homily, are said by the priest should be kept the same because it embraces the traditional ways of Catholicism. Everything should come in moderation. I definitely think it’s a good idea to expose the millennials and younger community of the church in a way that would encourage them to live out their faith through more teen oriented activities such as youth group and possibly more lively music. I could see why less millennials are attending church because they may possibly think its boring or may feel like a chore, and I believe that spreading and learning about God’s word should not feel like that. I definitely think that the church should keep its traditional roots in terms of its teachings but maybe it might be a good idea to create other events before or after mass that include enjoyable activities, active discussions, and bonding within the church community.

    1. I completely agree with you, I believe that the traditional ways of the church should not be changed. The way in which the church approaches the younger generation should be changed into a creative way instead. I also think that they should not feel forced to join the church.

  9. I think that if the church wants teenagers to relate and enjoy going to church they do need to try and engage them. Not in a way that forces them to do anything extra but just speaking to them directly or through relatable stories.

  10. As the daughter of two Sunday School teachers, I have personal experience with the church attempting to connect with the younger generation. I feel as though that the church wants to welcome the younger generation but they’re actually making the younger generation feel forced or obligated to do so. My church has a youth group that teens may join if they feel the need to do so, if the younger generation truly wants to join the church community, they should not feel forced. However, I do not believe that the Church should change their traditional ways to a more “modern” take on religion.

  11. I don’t think the church should change to best fit the younger generations. I personally believe having a traditional church has much more meaning to it than modernized churches. I don’t think anything should change in the house of God to accommodate others rather the generation should try to understand what the reason for going to church is.

  12. Since the church is where you visit once a week and pray to the God for your sin or tell God about the happiness and sadness in your life, I don’t think the structure or the model of the Church should be the reason we choose to go to the Church and not go to the Church.

  13. I understand where you are coming from. I think it is evident that many churches have reached out to younger generations, hugely through youth groups, but some have failed to attract them because, in some cases, they do feel forced into joining. But I also do no think its the best idea to just “move on” or leave things as is without the youth because, after all, they are a huge factor when spreading the word of God and enlarging the church community. Likewise, I still believe overall the church teachings and the way the mass is held should be kept traditional.

  14. In order to reach out to the younger generations I believe that they do need to change a little bit because they are being raised differently and are in a completely different atmosphere than the older generation was. If I was to chose one I would stick with the traditional churches because it is about God and not about some visuals to attract people. People should go to church and believe in God because they have faith in him and not just because church is now ‘hip’ to society.

  15. I agree with Becky, when saying they should update in the means of same sex marriage. Traditions are suppose to stay traditions thats why they are given the name but in today society some traditions are altered and we should respect all beliefs and start new traditions that will stay around for the rest of time.

  16. I think the way the church reaches out to younger generations does in fact need to evolve. As a matter of fact, it already has! You can follow the Pope on Twitter, you can download the Bible app on your phone and other convenient things that has to do with the church. But I don’t think this is a matter of making the church “cool”. I think this is the church making the younger generation aware of how God can be reached via iPhone, tablet etc. I think many teens refuse to go to church because it’s too boring and long to attend. Yet, that does not mean they don’t wish to have God in their life. I do firmly believe that that church, and its practices, should not be changed. Mass is celebrated they same way it was thousands of years ago so I don’t see the need to change it just to accommodate selfish teens who don’t see the value in attending church.

  17. In my opinion, churches should stop trying to reach out to this new generation so much and simply let them come to church as it were. Millennials will do as they see fit and refuse to be in one place for too long. Churches could evolve with the times but that would change the church too much. I think that millennials will slowly begin going to church again because it is so old fashioned and that is what will bring them back.

  18. I think churches need to evolve. No one wants to sit during an old traditional church. That’s boring and this generation won’t want to go. My church is entertaining, but still teaches about God. The teachings are just related to our everyday life. That is how it should be I believe.

    1. I’m not saying that it should be forced, but I think that this society is turning people away. The world is getting worse and I feel like we should reach out to teens in a different way. They can be easily persuaded.

  19. Bontu, although I am for modernizing the church I like the way you present the fact that the church should not change for a generation. Maybe the younger generation should understand what the true reason of going to church is, but how do you reach out to them and keep them engaged?

  20. It is always a hard transition when change is to come, , an example can be teenagers going through puberty and a parent not wanting to let them grow have their own space, many people may be stuck on the same ways of the church as well. Although religion is written and has not changed in a while or usually does not plan to change, those who do follow a religion have been brought up differently from generation to generation. On the other hand the church does not need a complete makeover on what they bring in the church, or how they conduct it but there are many ways to reach out to millennials which is easier than before. For example with religion comes traditions and m mothers traditions are very distinct from my fathers traditions which is also very distinct from the traditions I have followed growing up. Religion is not about the materialistic aspect of life rather the relationships created with one another and being able to understand the real meaning of the religion and practice. The church should not do a complete renovation, instead educate millennials and all those new followers about the real meaning of religion and faith.

  21. The church to be able to teach out with the younger generations try to relate with them finding the middle ground between traditional and modern to today world in order for it would attract more younger.

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