In this day and age, young people seem to be slipping away from the church in alarming numbers, leaving pastors to wonder how to not only attract, but retain millennials—a fancy term for those in the under-35 group.
But Pastor Alvin Love and his 10-time Grammy-winning recording artist wife, CeCe Winans, are having no trouble drawing and keeping younger folks at their Nashville, Tennessee-based ministry.
So then, what in the world is these co-pastors’ secret?
“We can’t take the credit for that. It started that way (with) my son’s and my daughter’s friends,” said Winans, 50, in a new interview with Religion News Service, where she discussed how Nashville Life Church was launched in their home in 2012, with their two children Alvin Love III and Ashley Rose.
“At that time, five years ago, they were probably all the ages of 25 and under. It’s just like we have an expanded family now. We give all glory to God. He’s given us the ability to relate and I think it’s because we have our children in ministry with us,” said the “Let Them Fall In Love” singer, who is currently touring nationally and promoting her chart-topping album of the same name, produced by her son Alvin III.
Balancing youthful zeal with wise guidance, Winans said, “My husband and I are bringing the wisdom of what we’ve been through but we’re hearing where they are. Every church, no matter who you are, you have to take out the time to listen. You can do things differently and still have the same standard and that’s what we’re doing.”
Though the ministry is contemporary and non-traditional, unlike the more rigid and traditional Church of God In Christ ministry Winans brought up in, one half of the retired duo, BeBe and CeCe, said she’s okay with that.
“When you look at my church that I have now it really does not look like the church I grew up in at all, from the way they dress to some of the songs we sing, but it’s okay because the main thing has remained the main thing and that is loving God and loving people,” she said.
While the veteran singer, whose career spans decades, finds joy in ministering through song and traveling around the world, her fairly new role as first lady brings joy to her heart as well. “I think the thing that has surprised me the most is how much I love it, how much I enjoy it. It’s nothing my husband and I ever thought we would do,” Winans continued.
“But it’s amazing how God birthed it in our home and with our kids’ friends and to see young people — that’s another surprise — how many young people, millennials, really do want to have faith in God. And they really do want to have a real relationship (with God and community),” Winas added, concluding, “They’re not interested in religion. But they’re interested in relationship.”
SOURCE: EEW Magazine – Rebecca Hall