I love listening to a podcast while driving, walking or jogging. One day, I was walking around my neighborhood listening to a leadership podcast. Then, the podcast host said something very interesting. He said that many churches that tried to attract young people by making their service “cool” (building a nice facility, making the service “hip” with fancy lightings…) are struggling to do so. The surprising fact is, according to research, young people are not looking for cool churches. They actually are searching for warm and authentic community. The host concluded, “warmth is the new cool” for our young generation.
It is true that we can easily misread our young generation. Just on the surface, it seems like they care very little about a deep human connection: trying hard to get likes on social medias, attracted to whatever is considered trendy and hip, switching jobs very often for a new experience and etc. No wonder why older generations tend to misjudge them.
But deep inside, our young people have earnest desire to connect with people. Regardless of how it looks on the outside, young people are yearning for genuine and authentic human connection that is satisfying. They simply want to “belong”.
Many visitors and VIPs (Non-Christians) of our church have personally shared with me that our church is very “warm”. We don’t have much “cool” factor, no fancy lighting, no nice looking stage (except the cool pastor! ha!). But the reason why I believe many VIPs feel comfortable is this: our members are used to building a genuine relationship through house church meetings for many years. During house church, we are encouraged to not just list events but our emotion. And people genuinely listen to your story. Since it is a small group setting, you feel known and belonged. Shepherds care for you and your spiritual growth on the weekdays as well. I never viewed house church as “cool” but I’m beginning to understand why it can feel “cool” to our young people. To feel connected, you need a “warm” small group of people whom you do life together. This is an authentic and genuine relationship.
The House Church movement didn’t begin to fill such needs of human being. It simply began by going back to the Bible and trying to restore the original church described in the New Testament. And we discovered that the church Jesus imagined was a “family”. I realized that when we listen to God and try to obey him by building the Church he imagined, our deepest needs are automatically satisfied, without compromising the mission of the church.