Barna Group research suggest Millennials prefer quieter, liturgical, traditional church settings


I saw this Barna Group report, which was released last month, and I mentioned it on Facebook but forgot to post it here.

Before I repeat the most interesting (to me) statistics from Barna’s research, here’s a supporting personal anecdote, which I reported two years ago:

…I remember a story from a student at the campus where I teach, Coastal Carolina University. A young, zealous, Southern, evangelical student invited some Northeastern cradle-Catholics to a local rock-and-roll church — you know, one of the churches with “high-energy” worship, guaranteed never to be boring.

How did the Northeastern cradle-Catholics react to the rock-and-roll church? Were they surprised that church could be so cool? Were they delighted to hear a backbeat in the worship songs? Did they feel at ease around casual clothing?

No. They’re response was simple: “That’s not church,” they said.

I figure they had expected something a little less like the rest of their lives.

Church can be different from the surrounding culture in more ways than one (and that one way is usually moral pride).

I told that true story in the same post that noted a campus ministry at the College of William & Mary was offering “silence” and “incense” to students.

Barna: Millenials Research

Among “Millennials,” or adults 18-29 years old,

67 percent prefer “classic” church settings (33 percent “trendy”);

77 percent prefer “sanctuary” (23 percent “auditorium”);

67 percent prefer “quiet” (33 percent “loud”).

Follow the link and look at the visual preferences of this generation: Altars that could be from European cathedrals, and tall stained glass windows.

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