Most teenagers want to be known for being “cool.” However, when it comes to the church, does it need to be “cool” so that it can reach this generation?
In Washington Post article titled, “To attract young people to your church, you've got to be warm. Not cool.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
The authors state, “So many churches pour money and energy into flashy worship services meant to make teenagers and young adults think that church is cool,” cites Dr. Kara Powell, of the Fuller Youth Institute. “But it turns out cool isn’t what young people want. Forget the rock-band vibe and the flashing lights. Warm is the new cool.”
After reading the article, it prompted me to consider what draws me to Underground and GLOW, the vibrant youth and young adult ministries of Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church. Sure, there are the cool aspects of these ministries, however, what I am most drawn to is the warm-hearted youth and young adult's that I have the chance to meet.
Powell, and her co-authors, Jake Mulder and Brad Griffin, describe a warm church as having the “warmth cluster.” According to their research, they describe a warm church as follows, “When we analyzed the terms that young adults used to describe the churches or parishes that they chose, we noticed repeated words: welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable and caring. We began to call this the ‘warmth cluster.’”
As I considered the research in this article, it reminded me of how vital the “warmth cluster” is to us at Sligo Church. On Sabbath, I have the privilege of meeting guests who have started attending Sligo. What I have found is that those who attend Sligo regularly are drawn, not just because we have great music or amazing Sabbath lunches, they come because of the warmth of our people.
So if you still want to be cool, no matter your age, be warm to the people that God sends your way.
The book of Ephesians 4:32 reminds to, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Simple kindness can make a profound difference in reaching this generation for Christ.