As a kid I grew up in a great Christian home. My dad served as a part-time music director and my mom taught High School girls Sunday School. I was always at church. I loved it. I have great memories of church revivals and listening to my Dad sing in many southern gospel groups. I have so many memories of church revivals. Gospel singing, covered dish meals and multiple offerings taken until enough money was raised. I, along with my family, spent many nights at numerous revivals.
As time passed I noticed that fewer and fewer revivals were being held. My formative years of church-going were the late 70’s and 80’s. Later in life, the early 90’s, I surrendered to the call of ministry. When I became a Pastor hardly any churches were holding revivals. The churches that were holding revivals seemed old fashioned. Now, over twenty years I feel old fashioned and I am 45 years old pastoring a very contemporary church – and yet I feel old fashioned. I’ll confess, early in my ministry I stayed away from the revivals. I felt as though they had seen their day. I like many other pastors turned to the “attractional” model, and saw great results.
Today, I feel uniquely positioned to lead the church. I don’t say that with any ounce of arrogance only great confidence based on my experience. I am 45 years old and I can guarantee you that I am more old fashioned in my church experiences than the average 55 year old. Due to my extensive Southern Baptist background and my years of pastoral experience I feel like I can uniquely bridge the gap between the generations. I have enough experience on both sides of the church movement that I feel can hopefully transition the church I am serving to help reach future generations.
The church, as a choice, for Millenials is not on the radar. Practically, more and more Americans are not seeing the value of attending church. Church can be experienced online. Church, as a digital experience, can be a part of a person’s life on demand not just a few days a week. Church as a fellowship, an act of worship and service, is losing ground in the lives of millions.
Amazingly, among Millenials, a little bit of old school contemporized for the day is the answer.
The attractional model of church; event driven programming, is not appealing to the unchurched. Personal invitations to church are still the best tool for connecting the unchurched. Interestingly enough, the unchurched place a high value on scripture. The unchurched want a pastor to preach the truth, the truth found in the scriptures. They long for a church that blends a strong view of scripture with a life mission.
This reminds me of the old days of revival. Preach the word and ignite a passion to reach the world.
This also reminds me of Isaiah 58. Isaiah calls for an old fashioned revival. In my book, Churches Gone Wild, I outline what today’s revival looks like in chapter 12.
Bring back the revivals. Strike up the call to our evangelists. Pastors perform the work of an evangelist. Encourage the church to invited the unchurched, not to an event, but to an awesome worship experience with life changing worship and life changing preaching of the truth!