Church Growth

Why ‘Cool Church’ is no longer working with Millennials and Gen Z

With Millennials and Gen Z drifting from local churches, an instinctive reaction is often that we need to make our churches cooler, improve our social media, and present a younger image.This is really a misread on what these generations actually want. They have been marketed and advertised to at an unprecedented rate their entire lives. So, what do they want? This weeks article explores exactly like.

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H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

I am a Millennial. I almost left church.

For me, the exodus of Millennials and Gen Z leaving the church is more than a trend or a number. It’s my life. It’s the friends I was raised with as a Pastor’s Kid. And I’ve spent the last 13 years as a Senior Pastor in the trenches trying to navigate the complexity of shepherding 5 living generations.

With Millennials and Gen Z drifting from local churches, an instinctive reaction is often that we need to make our churches cooler, improve our social media, and present a younger image.

Young people want a more relevant church experience... right? I mean, if we made the music louder, put in concert lighting, and preached on topics like dating and grace, younger generations would come flooding through our doors?

I call this model ‘cool church’. It is a belief that if church were cooler, new generations would come. And I have a growing conviction that cool is not what Millennials are chasing. In fact, they are reacting to our attempts at making surface level changes, and ignore the real changes that are needed.

If we mis-diagnose the problem, we will never heal the ailment.

The idea that to reach Millennials and Gen Z we need better branding or a new website is really a misread on what these generations actually want. They have been marketed and advertised to at an unprecedented rate their entire lives.

So, what do they want? Depth.

In a superficial culture, depth is attractive.

The big event, the social media campaign, the guest speakers, the giveaways - all the short term tricks - they may attract an initial crowd. And guess what that crowd will need to keep them happy - all the same things that you promoted to them to reach them in the first place. A new program or event cannot fix a cultural problem.

If you use gimmicks, fads, or hype—you better keep that up every week. If you build the story of your church (or organisation) on being the it church, the cool church, or the image church, be warned that you can’t be those things forever. Fads fade away, and trends evolve.

What you use for attraction, you must continue with for retention.

That’s why ‘Depth' is the cry from Millennials and Gen Z experiencing image fatigue from churches.

So, here are some things that Millennials and Gen Z actually want more than a great event:

1. Bible teaching and basic doctrine

It may seem overly simplistic, but to lead a generation with no biblical background or common knowledge, the church must assume just that: that there exists a fundamental need to provide Bible teaching and basic doctrine.  We must lay the foundation.

2. Practical life-help courses

On top of this foundation—basic Bible teaching and doctrine—provide content-driven courses and experiences to help Millennials learn and understand their place in life. With an attitude of questioning and an appetite to learn, Millennials and Gen Z can find answers to their questions within the church. With its content-driven courses and lessons, the church can provide something concrete and solid in a fluid, shifting world.

3. Authentic community

This doesn’t mean more small groups, more door greeters, or more social events. Those things may help, but authentic community needs to have an organic nature to it. A culture that fosters authentic community is less about programs, and more about an environment where people care for each other, engage beyond a Sunday, take on the responsibility to look after other’s needs, and is open to new people.  


Ask:

  • Is the culture of this church relational?
  • Does it organically foster community?
  • If someone never engaged in a single program, would they still see the values of relationships and community expressed intrinsically in everything we do?

Sure, modernisations that enhance a church service may help. But we need to dig deeper.

Digging deeper means peeling back the layers of church services, programs, styles, and get to the core issue - culture.

For more, please download my White Paper – 8 Innovations to Leading Millennials.

podcast transcript

(Scroll for more)

H1 What’s a Rich Text element?

H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

H5 What’s a Rich Text element?
H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • List Item 1
  • List Item 2
  • List Item 3

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Blog

Why ‘Cool Church’ is no longer working with Millennials and Gen Z

Why ‘Cool Church’ is no longer working with Millennials and Gen Z

With Millennials and Gen Z drifting from local churches, an instinctive reaction is often that we need to make our churches cooler, improve our social media, and present a younger image.This is really a misread on what these generations actually want. They have been marketed and advertised to at an unprecedented rate their entire lives. So, what do they want? This weeks article explores exactly like.

Show notes

I am a Millennial. I almost left church.

For me, the exodus of Millennials and Gen Z leaving the church is more than a trend or a number. It’s my life. It’s the friends I was raised with as a Pastor’s Kid. And I’ve spent the last 13 years as a Senior Pastor in the trenches trying to navigate the complexity of shepherding 5 living generations.

With Millennials and Gen Z drifting from local churches, an instinctive reaction is often that we need to make our churches cooler, improve our social media, and present a younger image.

Young people want a more relevant church experience... right? I mean, if we made the music louder, put in concert lighting, and preached on topics like dating and grace, younger generations would come flooding through our doors?

I call this model ‘cool church’. It is a belief that if church were cooler, new generations would come. And I have a growing conviction that cool is not what Millennials are chasing. In fact, they are reacting to our attempts at making surface level changes, and ignore the real changes that are needed.

If we mis-diagnose the problem, we will never heal the ailment.

The idea that to reach Millennials and Gen Z we need better branding or a new website is really a misread on what these generations actually want. They have been marketed and advertised to at an unprecedented rate their entire lives.

So, what do they want? Depth.

In a superficial culture, depth is attractive.

The big event, the social media campaign, the guest speakers, the giveaways - all the short term tricks - they may attract an initial crowd. And guess what that crowd will need to keep them happy - all the same things that you promoted to them to reach them in the first place. A new program or event cannot fix a cultural problem.

If you use gimmicks, fads, or hype—you better keep that up every week. If you build the story of your church (or organisation) on being the it church, the cool church, or the image church, be warned that you can’t be those things forever. Fads fade away, and trends evolve.

What you use for attraction, you must continue with for retention.

That’s why ‘Depth' is the cry from Millennials and Gen Z experiencing image fatigue from churches.

So, here are some things that Millennials and Gen Z actually want more than a great event:

1. Bible teaching and basic doctrine

It may seem overly simplistic, but to lead a generation with no biblical background or common knowledge, the church must assume just that: that there exists a fundamental need to provide Bible teaching and basic doctrine.  We must lay the foundation.

2. Practical life-help courses

On top of this foundation—basic Bible teaching and doctrine—provide content-driven courses and experiences to help Millennials learn and understand their place in life. With an attitude of questioning and an appetite to learn, Millennials and Gen Z can find answers to their questions within the church. With its content-driven courses and lessons, the church can provide something concrete and solid in a fluid, shifting world.

3. Authentic community

This doesn’t mean more small groups, more door greeters, or more social events. Those things may help, but authentic community needs to have an organic nature to it. A culture that fosters authentic community is less about programs, and more about an environment where people care for each other, engage beyond a Sunday, take on the responsibility to look after other’s needs, and is open to new people.  


Ask:

  • Is the culture of this church relational?
  • Does it organically foster community?
  • If someone never engaged in a single program, would they still see the values of relationships and community expressed intrinsically in everything we do?

Sure, modernisations that enhance a church service may help. But we need to dig deeper.

Digging deeper means peeling back the layers of church services, programs, styles, and get to the core issue - culture.

For more, please download my White Paper – 8 Innovations to Leading Millennials.

video transcript

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