New church service designed to attract young people
Why is the First Baptist Church on Ridge Road hosting a service Sunday evening away from the plush interiors of the main sanctuary?
Because the church wants to reach out to younger members of the congregation with a more casual service in a less formal setting.
With church attendance declining over the last 30 years, the First Baptist Church is “trying to be more younger-family-friendly” and create a space “where young people, who are culturally different from those in their 60s and 70s, can come, participate and worship,” Associate Pastor Mike Sanchez said.
“We have to become culturally literate in presenting the Gospels,” Sanchez said. “That doesn’t mean we give up the truths we believe in, but we’re trying to communicate in the same language (of the youth) so that there is more understanding. I think every generation brings its own unique style to the worship.”
The new service is being held at a hall adjacent to the church, said 27-year-old Charlie Cazin, who sings and plays the guitar at the service. Most of the songs Cazin sings are from popular Christian artists, he said.
“The service is held more as a family, gathering around round tables,” Sanchez said. “There are no pews. Also, it’s more interactive. Instead of preaching at people, there’s more dialogue between the pastor and the congregation. People are welcome to sit or stand. The music is more current – not traditional older hymns, but a more up-to-date, praise style of music. There are no boundaries in the way they worship.”
The format of the service needed to change because young people today have “a shorter attention span,” said Pastor Jim Poorboy.
“I think they are used to multimedia and pieces of information in a smaller duration of time,” Poorboy said.
At present, organizers continue to work on the service, furniture arrangement, refreshments and child care, Poorboy said.
“Our hope is when we call a permanent pastor this fall, we’ll begin to advertise and publicize the new service to the general public,” Poorboy said.
There’s a large local population who aren’t familiar with the Bible, Sanchez said. Yet there’s “a lot of spirituality in the area,” he added.
Sanchez said he hoped the new service would encourage more people to “at least investigate Christianity.”
“The service is for people who are seeking, who are checking out what it is to be a Christian, who Jesus is,” Poorboy said. “Part of the casual set-up is to encourage people to ask questions in a non-threatening setting.”
To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4229.
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