The church is not unlike film and television. We all are looking for that 18-35 demographic aren't we? I was at the Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly (big Lutheran business meeting of like 540 pastors and lay leaders) over the past few days and had the chance to hostess a lunchtime conversation about the emerging church (at breakfast I told Mr. SL that I really was hoping at least 8 people would show up because with less than that, it would just be awkward) there were 45 folks who showed up! - many of whom had to sit on the floor. I was amazed at the interest so I started out by asking folks to say who they were and why they chose this out of 20 so other options for lunch conversations. Many were just curious about EC, some were there because the tall tattooed lady was leading it and they were frankly curious about me, and many indicated that their churches were looking at starting an alternative worship service or a second campus geared toward the "younger generation". Here are my 2 reactions to this last group: 1) I am amazed and pleased at how much these "traditional" church folks want to reach those who are not already coming to their churches and that's a good sign that they are not entirely self-centered, which is great. 2) I unfortunately have yet to really see this work, especially if these churches are trying to reach post-moderns. If you are reading this and you know of exceptions to this statement, please let me know, especially if these churches have managed to bring in post-moderns who are de-churched or un-churched. I tried to lovingly tell of what I had seen across the country without being too defeatist about the whole thing. One red flag that goes up for me when a church wants to try and attract young adults is that there is the implication that traditional congregations are normative Christian communities which everyone SHOULD want to be a part of. I tend to resent the idea that the current manifestation of traditional church (building, pews all in a row, nicy-nice people, hymns, organ, Sunday worship, aurality as the primary sensory experience of the liturgy etc...) is NOT a single cultural expression of Christian community but the normative expression to which all deviations are judged. My friend Annie spoke up during the conversation and said that people need to try and not see the emerging church as a resource which can be duplicated in your congregations resulting in young adults joining your church, instead folks should see these new communities as the growth of the church in a bigger sense, not simply a way to try and grow your own congregation. To this she added that established churches should support the people who are native to the postmodern culture and then walk away. Pray for the people who are appropriate to and equipped for this culturally specific ministry, see that this is a needed and vital ministry that you are likely NOT equipped or appropriate for but which is in need of resources....give them money, prayer and blessing...tell the kids who grew up in your churches, but who no longer are in Christian community to check it out. This is so needed. Now, is that it? No. What trad churches can take from the emerging church is to pay attention to the questions that the EC is asking and then ask those same questions in your community. Please don't try and have your Easter vigil in a Goth club like Church of the Apostles. Please don't try and have a "Tomb Show" during Lent like Mercy Seat. That would be just as silly as them trying to start a "Dorothy circle" (sorry - if you're not Lutheran, that may not make sense), or start a quilting circle because it works for your community. But DO ask "is our worship service culturally appropriate to our context?" and "does the language we use in our community reflect our core values?" and "are we noticing where God is already at work in our lives and in our neighborhoods, and are we willing to join in that work?" This is what you can take form the EC: a renewed focus on mission, context and praxis. But seriously, I have no starter kit with candles, a glue on goatee and an icon for $49.95 which will attract young adults like flies on shit, and if anyone else claims to, please never stop smacking them.