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Saturday, March 15, 2008

I should have known...

This past Wednesday I was invited to the spiritual life fair of a local college that is three blocks from the church. The Residence Life office had set up a giant tent in the school's main quad.

For me, it was a two hour confirmation of what I have been trying to say regarding young adult ministry. The "old" model of ministry is to set up a tent, send out email, mail and post signs telling students that area churches would be available to talk about their programs...

Can you guess how many students came into the tent? One. And he went straight for the popcorn machine in the corner and left.

After an hour and half of sitting in the tent and chatting with other pastors, I went into Young Life mode and started to walk the quad going up to the different groups and briefly chatting up our new worship service.

Of course, there were snide comments, dismisive huffs by the college kids, and statements like "I am tired of hearing about the church..." to which I totally understand and agree.

It made me reflect on even the cool, trendy start up churches that talk about being about faith and not religion, being a movement and not an institution...that these students are wiser than most give them credit. They can see through the marketing language and are seeing that even these trendy places are perhaps even more overbearing in their presentations.

1 comment:

Erik said...

Especially poignant post for me, given the day I have just had. I'd explain more, but alas, I don't want to clog your blog (get it). Needless to say, I agree. How long will we as churches think that anything less than listening to this generation suffice for the right starting point? Marketing, trendy tag-lines, and substance-less veneer changes cannot possibly do what so many churches hope. Unless the church is willing to make major changes after listening to young people, nothing will change. That's why take anyway.