Cont’d. from Part I reshared with kind permission from Carey Nieuwhof.
3. LESS HEAD. MORE HEART.
Another key shift that’s happening in churches that are reaching the next generation involves creating experiences that engage the heart, not just the head.
The next generation doesn’t just want to know what’s true, they want to feel what true and to experience what’s real.
Real is deeper than just an idea—real is an experience.
When crafting the welcome…don’t just blanket people with information and the promise of a free gift. Connect with them emotionally. Tell that if they’re looking for God (why else would you be at a church today anyway?), he’s already here. He knows their name, and that we believe he wants a relationship with them. Tell people that God cares about them. Set a warm, emotional tone.
In your prayer time, take more than 30 seconds just to clear the stage. Pray for people’s real needs. Obviously, you won’t take prayer requests from the floor, but you can pray for specific situations people are facing and ask God to move.
I’ve also been trying to pay more attention to preaching, not just teaching.
It’s always hard to define the exact difference between the two, but simply put, preaching speaks more to the heart, teaching speaks more to the head.
Preachers facilitate an experience. Teachers convey information.
I think the best pastors do both well.
Preaching without solid teaching can become emotionalism. Teaching without preaching can become intellectualism.
Preaching leads people to say ‘That’s right. I need to change.” Teaching can lead people to say “He’s right. That’s a good point.”
Confession: uncorrected, I default to the head, not to the heart every time. So this is a learning and reminder for me.
Try to find an under-40 influential pastor of a growing church who’s more into teaching than preaching. There really aren’t that many.
A final word. Let people see your heart when you teach, preach, lead worship or host.
When people see your heart, it becomes easier for them to see their own heart. It also becomes easier for them to see God’s.
All of this is as much a posture shift as anything, but I think as your heart opens up, you become more open to the work of the Holy Spirit in your ministry, and you slow down long enough to let God speak into the quiet, you’ll see a new generation respond in a surprisingly positive way.
A few notes before we finish up that I’ve already stated in another post.
The attractional movement has done a great job reminding all of us that we have guests in the room. And while the foyer may have moved, someone’s first Sunday is still a huge deal.
So that’s no excuse to be self-indulgently weird. Authentic doesn’t mean weird.
The church is still one of the few organizations that exists for the sake of its non-members.
The attraction model has helped many people become Christians, and it has a lot to teach us. The biggest lesson? Our services should be designed with non-Christians in mind.
None of that has changed. It’s just that what unchurched people are looking for is changing. So we need to adapt.
For sure you need to care for the people you have, but never to the exclusion of the people you’re called to reach.
Churches that over-focus on the needs of insiders will eventually only have insiders. And when that happens, you missed the mission.