After spending a while hanging with this smart guy and talking about the church, I was listening to the radio. There was this really great interview where the person used the term psychographic.
I did some research into the term, because I was instantly intruiged. One particularly pithy and helpful entry is here. Psychographic is a category that exists paralell to demographics. While demographics are external and easy to quantify, psychographics are squishier, internal, harder to quantify. There will be some cross over. Being born at a certain time or place (demographics) will make certain attitudes and values (psychographics) much more likely.
The thing that occured to me, is that the local church has been focused on demographics while it should have been chasing after psychographics.
We end up with traditional services where all the old people go. And “contemporary” services where all the younger, hip people go. The young are deprived the wisdom and experience of the older. The older lose out on the enthusiasm and energy of the young.
Although being a Christ follower is a tremendous thing that we have in common, I’m not simply saying that every service will inherently feel equally relevant to every believer. What I am saying is that when we think about a church service, we ought to be thinking deeper than electric guitars for the 20-somethings and organ music for the senior citizens. We ought to be striving to create intergenerational communities, and I think the way to do that is to appeal to deeper beliefs, feelings, and experiencing than a demographic focus allows for.