30 Quotes From 2 Unchurched People After Attending A Recent Church Service

Are you excited about the next generation?  When I look at young people who are 15-28 years old, I think they have unlimited passion, energy, vision, and potential.  Recently, I took my 16 and 20 yr old nieces to a church in the Atlanta area.  Here is their profile:

  • Both students, high school and college.
  • They come from a broken home.
  • Highly intelligent and personable.
  • Beautiful girls with potentially very bright futures.
  • Except for some minimal exposure, zero church background.

I recently interviewed them to get their unfiltered thoughts on the experience.  After reading these comments, pastors and church leaders I have two questions for you – How prepared is your church to reach young people like this and how would you do it?

I asked them what they were feeling when we invited them to church as well as their feelings leading up to the actual service?

  1. They were excited to be going “because it was with us”
  2. “It was a music thing.”  They had heard about worship leader.  Relationships were nice but they were excited to be hearing him. 
  3. They thought it would be “similar to a high school ministry” they went to called Relevate with trendy music and high energy.
  4. They were concerned about how was this going to conflict with the Bo Burnham comedy concert they already had scheduled later that evening.  “Burnham discusses sex, his sex life, churches, and Catholic life with great irony and vulgarity.  He is an atheist.”  
  5. They were not nervous about going to church but very excited.  “Church is not something to be nervous about.” 
  6. They “were comfortable because kids their age were going to be there.” 
  7. My youngest niece is never nervous about going to church “because of what she believes.  Also, no one there is going to find out what she believes.”

The service.  We arrive 45 minutes early to get a good seat.  I wanted their thoughts about the 45 minutes prior to the service as well as the service itself.

  1. There was a huge line of 200-250 to get in.  This is “normal for concerts of talented people.  We would have been taken aback if it was just a church service.”
  2. They will know “in the first 5-10 minutes if they will love it.”  
  3. They noticed “how many white people were there.” 
  4. They were “impressed with the turnout.” 
  5. It was also noticeable “how nice people were when they went to the bathroom.”
  6. “The music was basically what they were expecting.”   
  7. “It was short and sweet getting into the music.”  Let me interpret this – little to no announcements.
  8. “Everyone was really into it.  Words on the screen was good.  Music was catchy and really broad which fit the audience.”
  9. They remembered the sermon title but were confused about the illustrations and felt “the pastor was making fun of the entire religion”.  
  10. They liked the pastor.  “He was cool and someone you could open up to.  But at the same time he strayed.”
  11. What he was saying didn’t connect with the youngest.  “You shouldn’t take what people say as fact.”  They didn’t want to hear the story of God but are interested in how God thinks you should treat other people.  
  12. “Religion is a more personal thing but church is a social place.” 
  13. They didn’t agree “with the fact that everyone thinks what the preacher says is true.” 
  14. The youngest didn’t agree with something he said so she verbally protested during the service (at a vocal level where only those around her heard it).  They would walk out if it was something they completely disagreed with.  One “would make a scene” while the other wouldn’t.
  15. “There is truth is something everyone says.  If you’re living for something that you feel, there must be truth in there somewhere.”

Thoughts Afterward – They attended both a high-energy worship service and a comedy act by an atheist within four hours.  I was interested in the comparisons.

  1. The youngest was starstruck because she met Burnham.  The oldest said “You can get a dose of God but then you can go to someone else to realize what you just saw.”
  2. Relationships and a new experience was why they went.  They were willing to investigate “to see what all the buzz is about”. 
  3. They knew the church would be a “safe situation”.  The oldest likes to go to see how “crowds react to big things”.
  4. The youngest watches things, specifically “body language”. 
  5. They like to see how secure other people are in what they believe.  A girl “next to her was writing down everything.  This was strange”.
  6. Everytime she goes to church it “furthers her beliefs in that she doesn’t like church.  Religion is a more personal thing.”  Everytime she goes to a church “she will find something she doesn’t like but it makes her broaden her beliefs.” 
  7. “Music helps further the knot.”
  8. One disagreed with the lyrics.  The other thinks “music is an emotional thing and ties people to God.  Music makes them feel closer to those around them.”

So I ask again, Pastors and church leaders – Are you prepared to reach young people like this and how would you do it?

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

6 Responses to “30 Quotes From 2 Unchurched People After Attending A Recent Church Service”

  1. I just turned 30 and I’ve only been saved since Aug. 31,2008 thanks to a guest pastor named Ron DePriest i would reccomend his book Loco to anyone from broken backgrounds, who preached at the church I had been attending for about 3mos. I admit today I am a Jesus Freak but still steer far away from “religious” people. I fosus on growing my personal faith and walking that out every min of every day, for all to see continuous transformation. Shortly after my salvation we hired a new assoc. with her im not sure where id be? I knew because of past and life patterns if I was going to stay unplugged from the world the church had to plug me in. Again due to very bad church experiences growing up I wanted to tell others about the true love of Jesus. This in mind I wanted disciples to support me, one of the first books I read was by the barna group UNchristian and its to the tee. After completing the spiritual growth step I could be under someone and help with leadership. This was great the assoc took me on as her assistant and I am still helping with children and young adults. In the mean time I searched with guidance online for a church that re-lated more to me and I’ve been following Pete Wilson from CrossPoint in Nashville, TN from the beginning. He’s biblical yet basic (no christian-ees) he address almost in every serum that “many of you may be guests and some may question if God is even real” his Religion Lies series is one I share with lots of young adults that had church forced on them and walked away or may of never felt it was there thing. A short film series I often use with our young adult community group is Nooma. Lastly a movie that is a must see for your neices is To Save A Life by outreach films! It is the most amazing thing ever!!! It is for highschool aged kids but every church leader should see it to so they would know what the unchurched kids face.
    Furthering my personal relationship with God is the most important thing ever. I have not worked since my salvation and volunteer almost daily. Other pastors, blogs and leadership info I follow is Francis Chan, Andy Stanley, Max Lucado, Lulie Giglio, Pete Wilson, Matt Chandler, Ed Young, Perry Noble, and Josh McDowell. I thank you for the post and will be praying for both of them. Blessing to you and just keep loving them Jesus.

  2. Did they experience “church?” Or did they experience an entertainment event called “church?”

    • Jesse,

      That’s really the question isn’t it? In thirty years of attending church, I thought it was the best service I EVER attended. They enjoyed the concert. I think it’s an issue of what the Spirit reveals.

      I really enjoy your comments. I hope you keep reading and commenting.

      Merry Christmas,
      Brian

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