Health and Growth

How to Reach the Millennials in Your Church

Learn how to reach the next generation in your church and turn them into unstoppable church leaders.

How to Reach the Millennials in Your Church

Frank Barry

Why isn’t your church reaching anyone below the age 30? 

Reaching the youth for Christ, is an evergreen task of the church. This is a generational issue in which we're always trying to keep about our purpose and keep spreading the good news.

This also goes for me as a father. Passing the good news down to my children and being a great dad and hopefully one day to the grandkids is a big deal. Being able to reach the next generation through culture changes, music changes, TV changes, movie changes, and language changes is critical. There's so much stuff that changes, but obviously Jesus is always the same. The Bible is always the same.

We need to figure out how to reach the next generation. There a few key strategies that work time after time. There's no silver bullet, but I there are some key things that any church can have on their mind as they seek to cultivate a solid relationship and provide church leadership opportunities to train up the next generation. Half the battle is just thinking about it. As a church, you should have it on your mind that you want to reach the youth.

So, it's on your mind. You're thinking about it. You're proactively trying to try new things. Talking to people. Talking to your kids. If it's on your mind, you're halfway there. Here are a few things that I think can go beyond that. 

1. Care about the next generation

If you're not reaching the youth because, you don't care about the next generation. It's simple as that. It's not something that's on your mind.

2. Raise up leaders in the next generation

You might not be raising up leaders that are the next generation. You're not raising up young youth ministry folks. You're not raising up youthful leaders that are the people you're trying to reach.

Naturally, if you have those people on your staff and you have those people as part of your leadership, it's going to influence your culture and the way you speak and the way you designed services.

3. Be genuinely invested in your community

It's not as if the baby boomers or the Gen Xers didn't care about reaching the community. But reaching your local community for millennials and younger has skyrocketed in terms of importance. They want to find meaning. They want to be hands-on. They want to see their work in connecting their community and make a real difference.

I don't think that baby boomers didn't want to make a difference, but I think it looked different for them. Millennials want to be right in the middle of the action. They want to help with the schools and the food pantries and the hospitals and they want to be involved right there in making a difference in their community. Whatever the needs of the community are, your youth want to be involved because it’s meaningful.

Find ways to ensure that you’re not isolated from the community that you’re leading—ways to engage with the community and be a part of it so that the younger generations can feel that connection to their home and see how the church is making an impact. It makes a big difference.

4. Craft your worship times for a younger audience

An old school worship and old school vibe in church can be a big turn-off for the youth. Obviously, church changes throughout the generations in terms of the production of the church service. What kind of music are you using for worship? What's the worship look like? What's prayer look like? How do people sit? Do you stand and sit? How many songs do you sing? Do you have big bands and rock concerts and smoke machines? There isn’t a single right answer for every church, but every church needs to be making these choices intentionally based on their relationship with their youth. If you’re losing the youth, it might be time to reevaluate your approach to worship.

The type of worship from stage makes a big, big impact to the younger generation. I don't listen to the music that my parents listened to growing up. I listen to different music and my kids are going to listen to different music than me. It's going to change. Our services have to change with that. We have to have some way of connecting culturally and relevantly to the youth in the worship service.

5. Update your church technology

If your church is using legacy technology, there’s a stronger chance you’ll lose connection with the youth. For example—printed bulletins, bad websites, no church apps, giving by check, checking in my kids by writing things down—these are all turn-offs for younger Christians. Simply not being very tech-forward is itself a subtle turn-off. It might not be turning people away from church per se, but it's a subtle turn off. I pay my bills on my phone. I take an Uber. I give to my favorite charity through an app. I buy things on Amazon. I'm doing it all from my phone. Let me go to church and do a bunch of things from my phone as well.

Integrate the valuable tools and insights we have from our mobile-first world and the visitor/member experience in our church, just like I do out in the business world when I'm not at church. 

6. Revitalize your church’s mission

Has your passion or church mission dissipated over the past few years? If there's vision and there's a clear purpose and mission and the whole church is behind that, everyone's going to feel it.

From the seven-year-old, like my kids all the way up to the 80-year-old, having crafted a motivating and inspiring mission for your church is the heart of building church engagement. If you’re fulfilling your purpose, you're on mission, and there's a great vision for the church, you'll reach the youth in your church all day long.

Show Notes

Read the full blog of this episode here:

Today on Modern Church Leader, COO Frank Barry talks about how to reach the next generation in your church and turn them into unstoppable church leaders.

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How to Reach the Millennials in Your Church