Willow Creek Community Church is terminating their Axis service. Originally designed for 20-somethings, the Axis service has been imitated worldwide by countless churches seeking to reach young adults. According to Scot McKnight, who is a part of Willow Creek and an educated observer of all things emerging, the church now feels that their other services have moved in enough of the direction of Axis that a separate Axis service is unnecessary. Furthermore, they feel it is important to recover a more intergenerational focus.
I've had mixed feelings on Axis. While I want to applaud creativity in reaching out to pockets of people who are unreached, there is something inherently unhealthy about niching church too tightly. In spite of the fact that they don't realize it, one of the greatest needs of 20-somethings is to be worshiping alongside 70-somethings. And one of the greatest needs of 70-somethings is to be in fellowship with 20-somethings.
Churches which become too generational in focus are shooting themselves in the foot -- although it may take them a few years to recognize that there is a bullet lodged in there. Has Willow just figured out that they've got a wad of lead stuck in a foot?
One of the truly amazing things about Willow Creek, which itself is the template megachurch, is that they have been open to and able to implement change -- not an easy thing for a church of their size and with such a significant history.