The Coffee Shop Church (www.coffeeshopchurch.com) is currently a small group of "twenty-something's" that meet in a coffee shop in Lansing, Michigan on Sunday mornings at 9:35am. We formed it last year because I was tired of seeing this age group "wash out" of Bretton Woods Covenant Church.
We counted ten percent of the church attendance in this age-range that still lived in town, but our more traditional activities were not holding their interest. They were not involved in our adult Sunday school and Bible study groups, and Sunday morning service provided very little in terms of connection. National statistics indicate our church is not alone. According to a 2000 Barna research report, only 1-out-of-3 church-attending teens anticipate maintaining active involvement in church after they graduate high school.
We knew from reading the SmallGroups.com newsletter that reaching "twenty-something's" would be hard. There are a number of reasons for this, but here are three reasons that we discerned from our group:
- There is vast difference in maturity level and life interests between ages 20, 24, and 28, often creating tension and disinterest between age brackets.
- Twenty-something interests (i.e., schooling, job situation, housing, and extracurricular activities) can change on a weekly basis, making meeting times and attendance sporadic.
- The twenties are a crucial time when a person decides whether their parents values will be theirs, including faith in Jesus and regular church attendance.
We started meeting in September 2002, and the group felt like the Senior High Sunday school class I used to teach. There was very little participation, no preparation, and absolutely no ownership. I would have three to four "students" most Sundays. ...