Christian Retailing

CBA: Millennials increasingly look to Christian stores for church experience Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Monday, 09 June 2014 02:13 PM America/New_York

CurtisRiskey-OfficialWebCBA plans three International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) events to spotlight the changing church. The association’s June 22-25 convention in Atlanta also will examine how lines are blurring between the church and Christian retail stores, some of which are meeting the needs of the millennial generation.

“For the same things their parents went to church to find, millennials are going to Christian bookstores,” CBA President Curtis Riskey said. “Think fellowship, guidance, talks, events, mission trips. Retail can never replace church, of course, but increasingly stores are an entire experience.”

CBA stores find themselves at the crossroads of a culture in flux and the changing church.

“As technology and new generations upend old practices, the stores able to survive and thrive extend customer values,” Riskey said. “They go beyond retail to community involvement—supporting local services and ministries—and examples are out there.”

Family Christian Stores is one of those examples. The chain’s Good Goers program invites customers on mission trips through the store’s James Fund, an outreach to orphans and widows.

Christian Supply in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is another, sponsoring festivals for youth and music pastors, in-store author panels and other events to rally and support community. College students also apparently feel welcome at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as they regularly meet at the store.

At ICRS, author Thom Schultz will be the keynote speaker, addressing church and retail. Schultz, founder of Group Publishing and Lifetree Café, is known for his incisive comparisons of churchgoing and retail trends.

The General Session will feature best-selling authors Ravi Zacharias, Philip Yancey and Ryan Dobson, who will weigh in on where Christianity in America is headed. It will be moderated by Craig Cable of Lifetree Café.

A Wednesday panel designed especially for church leaders, “Capturing the Millennial Mind,” features Roxanne Stone, Barna Group vice president and Relevant magazine editorial director; Palmer Chinchen, author of Barefoot Tribe (Howard Books, September) and organizer of a millennials service-and-expertise network; Brad Lomenick, president of the Catalyst leadership conference for young church leaders; and Dennis Moles, the RBC Ministries Bible teacher who researches millennials.