Did anyone else hear Fuzz Kitto speak at the leaders' breakfast at Soul Survivor last year? He was very inspiring. In the question and answer session, people were asking how to attract boys to a successful, established youth group that had only girls attending. Fuzz replied that ,'Your strength is your weakness.' meaning that being so good at attracting girls can result in boys not wanting to join. It is difficult to tackle because you must recognise and celebrate your success but, perhaps, you have to think outside the box to reach another group without destroying what you do well.Since then his phrase has given me a lot of food for thought. I look at our church that is filled most Sundays with retired folk. It is a growing church despite The Curate and The Boss having to officiate at a large number of funerals each year. More retired folk move to be near the sea and join the church which has a fantastic support network for our elderly congregation. There are phone networks where people ring each other each day to check how they are, house groups, pastoral visitors, social activities and day trips during the week. The services are in a familiar format and we sing lots of the old favourite hymns. Because there is such a positive buzz, it is a pretty forward thinking congregation and they are open to trying new music and they are funding a youth and families worker themselves. But there are very few, if any, young people in the church on Sunday. There are lots of youth type groups during the week but nothing for them on Sundays. Does is it matter that the young people don't come to church if they are being reached outside church on Sunday?
The Curate felt that there was a need for a more contemporary service and started a Sunday evening, multi media 'contemporary' service with bite sized video clips, sketches and live music. The hope was that it might reach people on the fringes of church and would be an accessible service to bring young people to. Not a new concept but new format for this church. And the enthusiastic regular church members turned up in the evening.