During the service on Sunday, March 26, Rhonda mentioned some articles and research that discuss how to attract new guests to a church, and how to ensure that they feel welcome. Here are a few links to some articles that I have discovered. I admit that these are not well-controlled research studies published in peer-reviewed journals - these are opinion pieces. They are not definitive guides, but they offer some points that I found interesting. I hope you do too.
I think that Unity North Spiritual Center is doing many things well to attract a broad demographic, to be inclusive, and to serve the community. But how can we attract more people who can pray with us, sing with us, participate in outreach initiatives with us, and strengthen our presence in our community? I am proud to be a member of Unity North Spiritual Center - "the little church that could" - and I want it to be my spiritual home for me and my family for many more years.
Young people prefer a classic sanctuary instead of a trendy auditorium.
Young people have an "aversion to exclusive, closed-minded religious communities."
"Young people are looking for congregations that authentically practice the teachings of Jesus in an open and inclusive way."
"Make it relevant... Pull on references that call upon our connection as humans, regardless of age."
"Somtimes things suck... Unity should be a place where we can acknowledge all emotions, including the negative ones..."
"Every Sunday, take the time to give a short explanation of what Unity believes so newcomers understand just what your individual Unity community is about."
"Those of us that are amenable to the idea of joining a congregation want it to mean something."
"Millennials are not interested in a celestial Jesus with a permanent smile and open arms, unconcerned with the goings-on of planet Earth."
This "top ten list" is the result of an unscientific poll by Thom Rainer. It is his most popular post. On his About page there is a list of his other top blog posts - they are all short but interesting reads.
What information have you found? I welcome conversation and peaceful exchanges of diverse opinions.