Metro churches working to modernize, attract more young people to services

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Some metro churches are switching things up to keep up the attendance they see on Easter weekend throughout the entire year.

From the music to seating, Connection Point Church in Lee’s Summit is different from the traditional churches many people grew up in.

“Our message has not changed,” said Chad Melton, pastor of Connection Point Church. “Our methodology about how we do things, that will hopefully constantly change.”

Melton said the use of guitars during worship, social media engagement and even a challenge called "Uconnect" to invite the most people to church is all strategic to make people feel comfortable and welcomed.

“Even having the chairs as opposed to doing traditional pews, we want to do chairs,” Melton said. “And also the building its self, we use it for a lot of different things.”

Connection Point has a traditional campus in Raytown but merged with another church last summer. It formed a second church with a modernized feel and a new name. Baptist is no longer used in the name.

“We are still a Southern Baptist Church,” Melton said. “We still believe that. But in our name, we found out that that could be turning people away.”

Summit Park Church opened in 2013, and driving up, you wouldn't even be able to tell it's a church. It sits in a retail and industrial area. Since the beginning, pastors there said making church feel relatable was the goal.

“One of the reasons I think people don't come to church is because they have all of these misconceptions about who Jesus is, so we want to break down all of those barriers and make a place that just felt very normal, very casual,” said Scott Obremski, pastor at Summit Park Church.

With data from the Pew Research Center`s Religious Landscape study showing Americans are less religious, church leaders said the changes churches are making are more important now than ever.

“We need to always be thinking about how to attract the younger generation because if the fact is if we`re not reaching the younger generation, eventually the church is going to die off,” Melton said.

The Pew Research Center found more than a third of Americans it surveyed ages 18-29 never or seldom attend church.

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