Wednesday, June 20, 2012

8 ways to keep people out of church

Norman Ivison has a good post today on the culture of 'Generation Y' (people for whom U2 is dads music), and what aspects of church culture they would find off-putting. Reading through the list, I could imagine most Gen X-ers and baby boomers nodding their heads as well.

Norman has a fuller description of each one, but they are things like
 - don't be tempted to offer variety
 - preach and teach lots but don't encourage questioning or disagreement
 - take church very seriously and don't encourage fun
 - have complex structures, understood by only a few, which make decision making fiendishly complex and drawn out.
 - don't experiment.

Most of these are no brainers, and expose some of the cultural and institutional captivity of the church. But no single culture or era has it all correct - sometimes taking time over a decision is better than rushing it, valuing tradition may work better than trying to customise and personalise everything (because the universe doesn't revolve around me), and the two need to be in dialogue, rather than 1 replacing the other.

But I'm also culturally captive, and as someone for whom experimentation, dialogue, efficient structures and variety are 'normal', its easy to forget that for others these things are a bit scary. But probably not as many people as we imagine - outside of changes to music in worship, a lot of church leaders I know have faced far less opposition then they imagined they would when leading change.

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