Fuel a Warm Community: “Warm is the new cool” in these congregations, where authenticity triumphs over worship style or a multitude of programs. Young people who participated in the research praised their churches for “warm” attributes, such as welcoming, belonging, accepting, hospitable, and caring.
So many churches pour money and energy into flashy worship services meant to make teenagers and young adults think that church is cool.
But it turns out cool isn’t what young people want. Forget the rock-band vibe and the flashing lights. Warm is the new cool.
For our book “Growing Young,” we researched more than 250 congregations. When we spoke to more than 1,300 young churchgoers, ages 15 to 29, they told us what they want: authenticity and connection.
In a word: warmth.
When we analyzed the terms that young adults used to describe the churches or parishes that they chose, we noticed repeated words: welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable and caring. We began to call this the “warmth cluster.”