Millennials Are Called to Deeper Meaning
And Drawn to Where Religious Community Can Happen
This Barna Group update, Designing Worship Spaces with Millennials in Mind, reveals that as a group when it comes to places of worship Millennials more readily choose venues that promote the opportunity for creating community over traditional church space. Real world examples from the Unitarian Univeralist faith include The Sanctuaries, DC and The Sanctuary, Boston. Yet the Barna Group report also shows that the dedicated religious nature of the space where worship happens is meaningful too. From the Barna Group report:
While “Sanctuary,” “classic” and “quiet” are more often associated with traditional church buildings, less than half of survey respondents preferred the word “traditional” over “modern.” And herein lies a cognitive dissonance common to the young adults interviewed in the survey. Many of them aspire to a more traditional church experience, in a beautiful building steeped in history and religious symbolism, but they are more at ease in a modern space that feels more familiar than mysterious.
Clint Jenkin, Ph.D., lead researcher of this report concludes:
Most Millennials don’t look for a church facility that caters to the whims of pop culture. They want a community that calls them to deeper meaning.
The update proposes fours questions congregations can ask to help make worship space more inviting for Millennials:
- How do our facilities present visual cues? Can people easily answer the questions “Where am I?” and “What’s expected of me?”
- How do our facilities offer respite from the outside world? Can people find a place of peace that is accessible and comfortable?
- How do our facilities connect to Christian history and traditions? What symbols or design elements evoke a sense of the sacred and tell the story of God’s actions in the world?
- How do our facilities integrate elements of nature? How can we bring the outside in and take the inside out?
What is your idea of a place where religious community can happen? Have you experienced religious community in “non-traditional” settings? If so – where? We want to know!