In the last few weeks, we've had a Vanderbilt Divinity School graduate student visiting Element who has asked if she may use us for her congregational case study. The study, I think, is on worship services in a postmodern context. Not sure what that entails, but I do know that she has already begun informally surveying some of our attenders. The opinions she has garnered thus far have not surprised me.
She did not tell me this particular bit directly, but relayed through a friend, I hear that before visiting us, she wrote a research paper for one of her classes, essentially outlining what a church service in a contemporary context should look like. Then, when pondering where to go to investigate options for her case study (which ostensibly is also connected to "megachurches"), someone at Vanderbilt Divinity School told her she should check out Bellevue Community Church's service for college students and young professionals. (Incidentally, I think it's awesome, and also kind of scary :-), that someone at Vanderbilt Divinity even knew about Element. BCC is big, but Element is not.) She came and discovered that what we do in our service is almost exactly as she outlined in her paper on a theoretical worship service.
Whether our "to a T" likeness to a seminarian's hypothetical ideals is a good thing or not has yet to be determined. ;-) (No offense to you seminarians.)
Not sure why I'm sharing this. I just thought it was a really cool thing, but also something that can provide a lot of info for us as we are exploring what it means to reform the discipleship culture of the emerging generation of churchgoers and what it means to bring the grace of God in Jesus to young people.
The demographic work will be of great interest to me, and I will likely share on the blog the stuff she shares with me from her research.