Along with my work at the Century, I work part-time as a church musician (at Christ Lutheran on Chicago's northwest side). While my writing/blogging is in general less ministry-oriented than that of many other Century contributors, I do get into worship and music stuff from time to time.
Rarely do I compare biblical passages with television, let
alone reality TV. But in preparing this week's Century lectionary column, somehow I started thinking about the
show Undercover Boss, in which a
high-level executive joins his or her own company's working ranks incognito. I
couldn't let it go.
What do young people look for in church? In research done in 250 congregations among people ages 15–29, respondents repeatedly said they were looking for congregations that were “welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable, and caring.” The researchers began to call this set of concerns the “warmth cluster.” Worship bands and ministry programs are not a priority, nor is busyness. Even “niceness” doesn’t work with young people. What they apparently seek at church is a sense of family, which calls for intergenerational relationships (Washington Post, September 6).