Reaching the Next Gen (again and again…)

2/3 of my children went with me to watch the new Lion King movie yesterday. It was incredible. I had all the “Circle of Life” and “remember who you are” goosebumps and some bonus laughter due to some creative, additional dialogue here and there.

I’m not from The Lion King Disney generation. Nor am I from the Snow White/Cinderella generation. I’m stuck in the middle like most GenXers. I remember seeing Snow White in the movie theater during a re-release year. And I did see The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King in the movie theater – but I was the young adult who didn’t want to lose her childhood and still believed that fairies were real.

My kids are from the Cars and Frozen Disney generations. Those are the soundtracks, play sets, and Halloween costumes we enjoyed during their pre-k and elementary school years. Of course I played all of the Disney (old and new) classic songs for them but I’m not sure they claimed them as “their” Disney songs.

This new Lion King movie reached a new generation. My daughter kept asking me what was going to happen next and my son couldn’t tell me the differences between the two movies (other than animation). It was the same movie. The same message. The same songs. But with new technology, new actors, and bit of rewritten dialogue.

Instead of trying to reach a new generation in a new way, Disney leveraged the connection of an older generation to bring their kids to a movie redone just for them.

Why aren’t we doing this in our churches? For so long we’ve either been reaching an older generation with their traditional songs and liturgy OR we’ve been targeting a different generation with a new set of songs and style. Perhaps instead of trying to do what the newest generation wants to do, we find ways to leverage the good things from the past and repackage them in ways that parents will want to bring their children to so that they can worship…together.

I know some churches that are doing this and honestly it is a different scenario when you don’t have Disney’s marketing budget but there is something to learn here. Families can have great experiences together. Can the church be one of those experiences?

Until Everyone Hears,

What are your thoughts?