During Bible study one day, a lifelong member of our congregation shared a story from his boyhood. William had grown up just north of downtown Miami and was a teenager when he began taking the bus down to the church with his brother to attend Thursday's children's choir rehearsal. Soon he began to notice others who were riding with him.
It's hard to believe that any preacher would choose to
preach on this week's epistle reading. There are words here rarely spoken in
our sanctuaries, and using this text might get a preacher sent to
denominational reform school.
What do young people look for in church? In research done in 250 congregations among people ages 15–29, respondents repeatedly said they were looking for congregations that were “welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable, and caring.” The researchers began to call this set of concerns the “warmth cluster.” Worship bands and ministry programs are not a priority, nor is busyness. Even “niceness” doesn’t work with young people. What they apparently seek at church is a sense of family, which calls for intergenerational relationships (Washington Post, September 6).