First of all, Dear Millennials, let me say how much we love you, appreciate you, respect you, and want to share life with you. I know you so often hear blanket criticism and harsh judgments from some. And sometimes people use the label “Millennials” as instant negativity. But please know that not all of us feel that way, and certainly not myself. As I said, speaking as a Baby Boomer, we love you, appreciate you, respect you, and want to share life with you.
Let’s keep our lines of communication open, honest, and lively so we can grow to know and respect one another, and share life together. O.K.? O.K.
Now, here’s what I really want to say to you Millennials, and it’s good and affirmative. It’s an invitation. It’s about church and worship.
“Rumor has it” that “many” of you don’t care for the established church and the disciplines of faith and worship. Of course, many of you are persons of faith and you practice your faith consistently. But, as statistics indicate, there is a significant population of your generation who has decided either not to enter or not to continue the life of faith and regular church-going and the disciplines that go with it.
Here’s the “tricky” part of my invitation, because I do not want to be misunderstood as I lay this out. It’s about the “style” of worship and the differences in style that are available in Christian worship.
Many churches in the past 40 years have shifted over to what is called “Contemporary Worship,” with drums and guitars and praise music, and a much more casual atmosphere. And this contemporary style of worship has connected with many, many people, many of whom were not or would not be connected with worship in the more traditional style of organ playing and hymn singing.
Our congregation at Prince of Peace Lutheran here in Fayetteville added the Contemporary Service 22 years ago, and it has been a great addition to our ministry, and is even now the more popular by attendance of the two distinct worship styles we offer, as we still offer the “Traditional Service” with organ, hymns, and “liturgy.” I love this Contemporary Worship, and we will keep using it as a great tool for worship.
But for many of you Millennials, even this Contemporary Worship has not drawn you into a life of faith and worship as much as it has for folks of other age groups. Maybe it just doesn’t have the “surprising difference” it had for folks back in the ’70’s, ’80’s, and ’90’s, when so many were looking for “something different.” Many of you don’t know of any style of worship except the contemporary style, so it does not resonate as a fresh change and an exciting difference.
So here’s my deductive reasoning and my invitation. I believe you, so named the “Millennials,” might just really like, and connect in a fresh new way, the Traditional Worship that brings you into a different spiritual experience than you’ve had in your lifetime.
Here’s why I think you might like it and be blessed by it. The Traditional Worship that we use in our Lutheran Church lifts up the reverent and deeply spiritual components of ancient Christian worship. The beauty and majesty of music and hymns brought forth from a multi-rank (1,000’s of pipes of all sizes) pipe organ (or perfectly mastered digital reproduction of the pipe organ sound) has the quality and capacity to lift the human spirit to the very throne of God.
As you know, the definition of “good” music is music that can “move” you in spirit and emotion. You do not have to be a student of classical music to have it move you and stir your emotions to a spiritual “high” and a conviction of faith. In our Lutheran heritage we use classical music and classical hymns from The Baroque period (J.S. Bach and others) all the way to recently composed music and hymns that combine a classic sound with the great words of faith which remain true to the genuine message of Holy Scripture.
In addition, the repetition of the components of “the liturgy” gives an overwhelming comfort of stability and groundedness in our otherwise constantly shifting and unpredictable world. I believe you young people would find a genuineness and a truth in this worship style that would combat the insecurities that haunt our modern circumstances.
In summary, I believe you guys, and your children as you begin to have them, might just absolutely love and be touched spiritually with the “difference” of the traditional worship experience in which you encounter The Living God through organ music, singing hymns (out of a “Hymnal” by the way), singing and reciting ancient “liturgy,” all while hearing the ancient Holy Scriptures preached and applied to your quite contemporary life.
The beautiful and majestic Traditional Worship Service is at Prince of Peace every Sunday at 11:15. I invite you to come and see for yourself. I hope you will.
Find Kollmeyer at www.princeofpeacefayette.org. Sundays: Contemporary at 9:15. Traditional at 11:15