EUSTIS, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Church attendance by the 20-something crowd is at a real low, and some churches are thinking way outside the box to get those millennials back into their congregations.
If you build it, they will come, says Pastor Rick Pughe of Lifepointe Church in Eustis, about a new $600,000 outdoor recreational facility under construction at the church. "If you reach the kid, you reach the family."
Pastor Rick Pughe and his staff are getting very creative. "We have a non-church culture. The culture has been drifting away from the church. But I think in many ways the church hasn't been doing her job reaching out to the community."
The recreational facility will be the pavilion where volleyball and basketball will be played. Nearby, future football and soccer fields will be built. There's a walking trail, playground, and other facilities on tap too, hopefully paid for with donations and enjoyed by a young group of congregants that isn't seen here enough.
"They're our future. If we're not going to reach out to them, who will?" Pughe asks.
LifePointe already has a sports ministry that targets younger kids, and the church recently teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club. Charles Dobson is with the Boys and Girls Club. He says, "They love sports. I think this will draw a lot of kids-teens."
Every Sunday, church workers take 900 chairs and turn the basketball court into a church auditorium, and of those 900, only 100 are filled by 20-somethings. That's why churches everywhere are focused on getting more millennial a into church. Down in Clermont a church there built something called a SkyZone, a big trampoline center.
Pastor Pughe says if you build it, and they come, you can serve. "The next generation that is going to be leading and serving our country has to feel the love of Jesus Christ and the only way to do that is for the Church that's supposed to be giving that message to reach out to them."
Pastor Pughe plans to open the new facility Easter weekend.