Tuesdays digital/spiritual literacy class lightning bolt:
Liz James (who has a delightful blog called Hummingbird Homemaker) offered this observation that made us all sit up and take noticee:
Our churches offer two things to both Boomers and Millennials (18-30ish): freedom of belief and religious community.
Boomers have are accustomed to religious community in their lives and are excited by the freedom of belief thing.
Millennials, by contrast, expect freedom of belief and are excited by the idea of religious commuity.
Sooo, she concludes, perhaps we need to promote freedom of belief while in church and talk more about the promise of community in our on-line presence.
Hmmmm…makes a lot of sense to me.
Teacher Phillip Lund then cited the website of the UK church led by American Minister Andy Pakula who observes that millennials in that country have even less awareness of church life than those in North America. Andy uses his site to teach church in a basic way. It describes three gifts in the on-line presence that churches provide for people who have never been to one, Spirituality, Community and an outlet for Justice. Check it out at Islington Unitarians.
In the English case, each category comes with an invitation to come in for a class. Phillip Lund suggested that perhaps one could even offer those basic classes online.
I like these ideas because they speak to my main concern as a settled minister with a sabbatical project: how do we continue to serve those who have built or maintained the church, and yet make room for a next generation of people who relate to the world in a very different way.
Advertisers and marketers have known for a long time that you spin different messages to different audiences. Why should churches not do the same?