How do we bridge the age gap in local churches PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 09:21

When it comes to worship music, I tend to prefer guitars and drums more than I like pipe organs and pianos.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it all. Singing along to the piano and organ just feels right and the words to some of those older hymns are rich in church theology and I love to sing them.

My personal favorite style of worship, however, is with a more contemporary style or maybe it’s better said another way, I am able to more freely offer my worship with that style of music.

Over the years I have been to churches that have both a traditional style of worship and a more contemporary style and I have found a way to worship God in both.

This column really isn’t about God or worship at all. It’s about the difference I noticed in the churches with the differing style.

For years we attended a church that would be filed under the heading “Contemporary Worship.”

The praise band was above average on a talent scale. All of the musicians who played ranged from good to very good.

The singers, more of the same.

The crowd was mostly Generation X and Millennials with a few Baby Boomers on the young end.

I have also been to traditional churches where the piano players and organist are great musicians and the singers are loud and proud.

The crowds are mostly seniors and older Baby Boomers, with some Generation Xers on the older end (like me) thrown in.

Now these numbers aren’t concrete and there are exceptions to every rule. My family and I currently attend church at New Hope United Methodist in Salem (sorry for the shameless plug) and last Sunday our age range was from three months to 92.

But for the most part these numbers stand up. Traditional services usually equal older crowd, while contemporary services equal younger crowd.

I loved our contemporary church.

There was never a shortage of volunteers.

You ever hear this, “10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work?”

That wasn’t the case when 90 percent of the church was under 40.

But you know what was missing at that contemporary church? Seniors!

There was no place for that generation at that church or churches that are geared toward the younger crowd.

They say, “The music is too loud, the lights are too low and the thermostat is set on frigid!” and seniors I talk to tell me they just can’t get connected to God in that setting.

Sounds just like the conversation I have with younger people who say, I can’t go to church there because “The music is too slow, the lights are too bright, and it’s hotter than the Fourth of July in there!”

So what ends up happening is young people are missing out on the blessing of being around people who have lived this life.

People who have stumbled and fallen and gotten up, and stumbled and fallen, and gotten back up again.

The young couple don’t get to sit in Sunday School and hear the couple celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary tell how they lasted so long.

That road runs both ways.

The church without any youth is missing out, as well.

There aren’t people around to help us do the work. No one to show us how to figure out our phones and no one to sneak and turn down the thermostat.

Our church is trying some things to figure it out. I hope others are too!

Churches can do and offer a lot of things, but I think most of them are missing one of two very precious commodities, either youth or experiences.

Most churches haven’t figured out a way to have an abundance of both.

Let me know what you think at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it