By Gail Marsh
It’s Sunday morning and time for ch_ _ ch. Who’s missing? U R, Millennials. This is no joke! Millennials have left the building. Just look around at your church this Sunday. If you’re seeing more geriatrics than pediatrics, you are not alone. Many churches are seeing the exact same thing. That’s because a whopping 59% of Millennial parents who were raised in the church no longer attend. They left for a first job, college, or trade school and never looked (or came) back.
The big question: Why? What happened to dull the shine on church steeples across the globe? Why are Millennial parents opting out of church? Many (80%) do not believe attending church is important or worthwhile. In fact, 35% of Millennials with children think churches do more harm than good! (How’s that for a gut punch?)
The most important question: How can we bring today’s young families back to church? Here are some ideas:
- Most Millennials want a to have a voice in the church’s vision and strategies. Include them in a variety of leadership roles. Encourage them to attend focus groups aimed at addressing the needs of families like theirs. Listen to their suggestions and implement their ideas whenever possible.
- Host special programs and classes that appeal to Millennial singles and families, like parenting classes or budgeting seminars. Organize family days, just for fun or for helping others.
- Millennials want to make a real difference in their world. Help that happen by organizing mission trips both abroad and within your local communities. Design ongoing programs that target specific needs (homelessness, single or abused moms, child hunger issues).
- Consider utilizing an online marketing resource like HubSpot. Techniques that work in the everyday world can be implemented in your church, as well. HubSpot is free and offers suggestions for improving social media posts. (Let’s face it, Millennials rely on social media for practically everything!)
- Many Millennials will participate provided they can utilize their unique skills. Look for ways to include the Millennials’ areas of expertise and they will feel valued and needed—important motivation to continue participation.
- Millennials have questions and they want a safe place to ask them. When facing questions about abortion, gender issues, and other hot topics, refrain from bombarding the Millennial with pat answers. Rather, listen and encourage dialogue. Tolerance is highly valued by most Millennials, so discovering God’s truth in such issues may take time.
- Everyone wants to feel like they belong to the church community. Millennials are no different. Form small groups to meet this need. Consider organizing small groups for the Millennial’s children, as well. Encourage these groups to work at serving together, praying for one another, and meeting together to delve deeper into God’s Word.
You may call them Millennials, Generation Y, or something else. God yearns to call them his children. He wants Millennials and their families to take an active role in his church. Let’s see what we can do (with God’s help) to make that happen!
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