The struggle for churches in the beginning of the twenty-first century is how to reach the younger generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we move into a Post-modern world we are faced with new challenges. How do we reach our culture without being influenced by our culture?
The Millennials are defined as those born between 1981 and 1997. They are the younger generation and they are the largest generation since the Baby Boomers. They think different than Generation X, Baby Boomers or Builders. They have a post-modern philosophy (more about that in the next post). After much research and many surveys it appears that Millennials value: Sense of Community, Value of Opinion, Need to Participate and Finding something Genuine. In the case of religion we find that they like for church to feel like church. They are not turned off by stained glass, older hymns or sacred traditions.
So how can we relate to these Millennials today?
1) They value community and participation over a sense of individualism. We need to make them part of the group. We need to get them involved in our small groups, Bible studies or classes where they form relationships. We need to have specific outings or activities just for them. We need to give them a cause. They want to be part of a group with a name and job to do.
2) They want their opinion to be heard and to matter. We need to get Millennials onto committees or boards where they can influence the church with the knowledge they possess. Audio and Visual committees, Outreach committees, Marketing programs, Building committees, etc. We understand the value of wisdom on Deacon boards – but there are many other ways for MIllennials to participate.
3) They are attracted to something genuine and quickly see through something fabricated. We must stick to the Gospel and the importance of a changed life. We must teach and value the attributes of God. We must value the Word of God. If the Millennials are going to be part of a church, that church MUST stand for something or else they will find something else worth putting their time and support behind.
* I am convinced that the ‘feel good’ methods of church growth over the last thirty years will have no impact upon Millennials, in fact, it may just turn them off.