This article previews our upcoming research with Barna Group. You can learn more here about this project, which will be released later this year, and you can sign up to receive updates here. Almost ten years ago, Aspen Group (as part of a collaboration called the Cornerstone Knowledge Network) ventured into new market territory to commission a research project with Barna Group to better understand what this mysterious generation known as “Millennials” was drawn to in church spaces. We conducted surveys and focus groups, visiting church spaces in different cities with churchgoers and non-churchgoers to better understand the unique challenges facing the group born between 1982 and 2000.
Do you remember the first time you shook someone’s hand after Covid restrictions were lifted? The moment for me was when I had someone visit my house, and even though restrictions had eased, we had this awkward social moment of not knowing if we should shake hands, or just say hello. It was kind of funny because we didn’t quite know what to do with our hands. For the first time in my life, I went many months without the normal day-to-day interpersonal experiences of shaking hands, hugging, or even sitting in a chair next to someone. It presents us a fascinating learning moment.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
We’ve been enjoying the last six weeks of Barna’s ChurchPulse Weekly podcast series, “Making Space,” leading up to some great new research we’re partnering with Barna on called, Making Space for Formation. Aspen’s VP of Design & Integrated Services, Derek DeGroot, spent some time reflecting on each episode in his blog series, “From the Church Architect’s Desk.” In case you missed any of the posts, here's a quick recap from Derek.
Aaron and Michelle Reyes sat down with Carey Nieuwhof this week on Barna’s ChurchPulse Weekly, to talk about making space for difficult conversations as church planters of a multiethnic church. They discussed how they navigate racial and political differences within their congregation, what they have done to meet their community’s needs, and future innovations they dream of for their physical gathering space.
Recent data shows that the Gen Z generation (people born roughly between 1997 to 2010) spends an average of seven hours a day on their phone, but 79% of Gen Z people say they’re lonely. In a reality that’s become increasingly digital, there is still a strong need for physical community.
Throughout the pandemic, the digital experience has been a lifeline for our relationships, but is technology a replacement for interpersonal connection? Jo Saxton, author, speaker, podcast host, and leadership coach, shared on Barna ChurchPulse Weekly how physical space still plays a huge role in building meaningful relationships, and supporting the discipleship journey.
We went pretty deep on the theology of space with Skye Jethani and Kimberly Deckel on this week's ChurchPulse podcast, "The Strengths and Weaknesses of American Church Traditions, Worship and Physical Gatherings." It’s a challenge to broach a topic as controversial and personal as theology when you’re talking to such a broad audience, but I think a lot of what Skye and Kimberly had to say is really important for all churches to think about: if theology is about our understanding of God, what is the theological importance of physical church spaces?
Derwin Gray, former NFL player and founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church, discusses cultivating a life of prayer and intimacy with God in this week’s ChurchPulse Weekly podcast, "Derwin Gray on How the Lord's Prayer Has Reshaped How He Views Intimacy with God and His Beliefs About the Importance of Physical Space."
For six weeks in October and November 2021, Barna’s ChurchPulse Weekly will feature a series— "Making Space." As part of Aspen and Barna’s partnership on new research, Making Space for Formation, the podcast will help start a new conversation among church leaders about the role of physical space in spiritual development and the theology of space. Each week, Derek DeGroot, Aspen VP of Design and Integrated Services, will reflect on the podcast from his seat at the Church Architect’s Desk.
The mass exodus of Millennials (those born between 1984-2002) from the Christian faith has caused many leaders to wring their hands about the future of the church. Some have answered Millennials’ criticisms that the church is irrelevant and boring by trying to be trendy and hip. But an Aspen/Barna study—Making Space for Millennials—reveals that Millennials may be looking for just the opposite.