The mass exodus of Millennials (today’s 18- to 30-year-olds) from the Christian faith has caused many leaders to wring their hands about the future of the church. Some have answered Millennials’ criticisms that the church is irrelevant and boring by trying to be trendy and hip. But a new study—Making Space for Millennials, a joint project of Barna Group and the Cornerstone Knowledge Network—reveals that Millennials may be looking for just the opposite.
Millennials, it seems, wish the church would just be, well, the church. Here are four key findings from the Barna/CKN research that point to this conclusion:
“Modularity” describes the way Millennials assemble their life. When it comes to religion, they pick and choose the spiritual teaching they want to receive, because they were born into a digital world and literally have access to a constant stream of information. What they don’t always have is the wisdom to understand what teaching is trustworthy and what is not. Millennials are looking to mature Christians to help them curate Truth from all the content that’s available to them. Churches that have connecting spaces, such as coffee shops, lobbies with seating, and small group gathering spaces, provide the kind of space that fosters the intergenerational relationships that Millennials say they’re looking for.
2. Visual Clarity
Millennials in the Barna/CKN study expressed an appreciation for clear messaging on where to go once they enter the church and where to find information. They want to be able to answer the questions, “Where am I?” and “What’s expected of me.”
Whether a church looks more like a cathedral or a modern megachurch, Millennials appreciate the visual clarity that good signage and clear messaging provides.
Our culture is highly fragmented and frenetic, and there are few places to take a breather and gain much-needed perspective. Millennials suggested a strong desire for space to reflect. Churches that build in quiet places for personal rest are providing a meaningful respite from Millennials’ fast-paced lives.
One of the ways churches can help point people to God regardless of the type of architecture of their facility is by bringing nature into the church. Nature is an element that Millennials say helps them connect with God. And it helps address their need for respite.
The Cornerstone Knowledge Network (CKN) is a joint initiative between Aspen Group and Cogun, two church design and construction companies that believe in building churches for radical ministry impact.