I teach a newly-wed Bible Fellowship class at our church. It’s really a Sunday School class, but someone decided that Bible Fellowship sounded better than Sunday School. But that’s a whole other issue for another blog.
We have a dynamic group of almost 30 people in their twenties. They interact with each other and with our lessons. And many get together between classes for Bible Study and social events (small and large). These are the people who Pastors want as part of their growing ministries. They’re not having babies yet, but the calendar is starting the countdown I’m sure for many of them. Our class has the potential to grow a nursery ministry!
It’s interesting that this group is teaching me many things. I used to be that age (sadly, about 2 decades ago) so I thought I’d quickly understand them and relate to them. But times have changed.
Just 10 years ago, people were just getting cell phones, the internet was incredibly slow (you could barely watch a video streaming) thanks to dial-up, twitter and facebook weren’t even heard of, and reality tv was just finding it’s groove. Remember when we actually watched sitcoms?
All these things that just started in the last few years, have shaped this new generation. It’s defined who they are.
Sadly, the Church has stuff that hasn’t changed while the next generation is changing and progressing. I’m not talking about the church’s doctrine and belief system — since God and His Word don’t change. I’m talking about the systems in the Church that this generation don’t readily respond to.
One of those things is the news.
My small group of up-and-coming professionals don’t watch the news. Don’t read the news. Don’t care about the news.
I mentioned the other day a huge news story that generated large quantities of time and pages throughout the week. And I got blank stares. After class, a few people came to me and asked basic questions about the story that I was tired of, because of all the coverage.
What does this mean for the church? They don’t care about your “news” either. They aren’t drawn to your hallowed “bulletin” or “worship guide”. In fact, I doubt if any of my crew read any of it. We can tell by the amount of questions we receive about upcoming events in the church. They aren’t pursuing the information. Do you find the same thing?
So what’s the solution? We need to consider that this generation wants the information pushed to them in an entertaining way. This is the generation of YouTube and Twitter. They want only the news that affects them.
- Slim your worship guide down. Way down. No one’s reading it anyway. This will save $$$ and reduce paper you produce. Consider that most people who actually open the guide, will only browse and scan. Make things descriptive headlines.
- Write creatively. Just like twitter, people don’t want to know just the facts. They want the spin on the facts. Will this take more time for you? Absolutely. And it’ll require a good editor and writer. I’m sure there’s someone in your pews that would love this task. Gone are the days where you take the announcement from someone and post it exactly as you received it.
- Produce a YouTube-style video with the important stuff for the week in it. Again, make it fun, witty, non-professional looking (you-tubeish), quick-edits and informative. Don’t tell every thing — just the most important materials. Then show it at the first of your service (or end — you’ll get more people and it’ll be top-of-mind when they’re leaving), post it on your website and put it on YouTube.
- Use social media. Throughout the week post reminders of everything that’s going on in your church (be relevant to the age groups using the media). Don’t be boring; write witty reminders the day before or moments before. This is the generation of spontaneity. They don’t plan ahead, they act impulsively.
I think you get my drift. You need to push your material to the 20-somethings if you want to motivate, encourage and inform them. Have fun with it. Be simple, think less and add wit. It’ll take more time, but you’ll get a better response.