Monday, November 17, 2014

Millennials Prefer a Classic Sanctuary, Turned Off by Trendy Church Buildings, Study Shows

By Stephanie Samuel, Christian Post Reporter

Millennials gravitate toward classic, quiet church spaces that feel authentic and provide a break from the busyness of a fast-paced, technological world, revealed a study commissioned by church architectural firms.

Online surveys administered to 843 young adults ages 18 to 29 by Christian research firm Barna Group and Cornerstone Knowledge Network, the market research organization created by church design firms Aspen Group and Cogun, found 67 percent chose the word "classic" to describe their ideal church. By contrast, 33 percent prefer a trendy church as their ideal.

"They don't want something created artificially for them; they don't want a bait and switch. What they want is something deeper and more authentic," Aspen Group AIA Architect Derek Degroot said of the survey results.

That search for authenticity translates into the look and sound Millennials prefer for their ideal church.

When asked to choose their preference between a church sanctuary and a church auditorium, 77 percent chose sanctuary. When shown four different kinds of church windows ranging from modern and least "churchy" to traditionally ornate, over a third of all respondents chose the most ornate stain glass window common to chapels. When shown four styles of church altars, the study showed that a majority of respondents chose altars that "are unambiguously Christian and are more traditional."

"Millennials are a very visual group," explained Barna Vice President of Publishing Roxanne Stone. "If they go into your church and they don't know where to go or it's ambiguous or they don't understand what something is for, they will move on."

Additionally, 78 percent of millennial respondents selected a quiet church as the ideal over a loud church.

The results seem to buck against the trends of the typical megachurch where the sanctuary is a vast space broken into several seating sections, congregants are treated to concert-like worship services, and the pastor preaches from a stage...(continued)


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