Every time I get together with church leaders, the conversation turns to millennials. Someone always asks, “What are you doing to engage millennials?” Few of us are succeeding. There are more questions than answers. I’m glad we’re asking this question because the hair on the head of the body of Christ is greying, and we need to begin passing the torch. Reaching millennials is tough, and most churches face one or more of these common problems.
1) They don’t know how to attract them.
2) They don’t don’t how to engage them.
3) They don’t know how to empower them.
4) They don’t know how to keep them coming.
So, what’s the answer? The number one thing millennials crave is relationship, and it’s the church’s job to work towards creating lasting relationships.
Here are 4 keys to engaging millennials.
1) Speak with them instead of at them.
Get to know them and find ways to value their strengths. Invite them out for a cup of coffee and get to know them. Learn their language and familiarize yourself with cultural references they’ll understand. You wouldn’t share Christ in English while ministering in South America; you’d use the language they understand.
2) Connect with them.
Use technology as a tool to connect with them and engage them in their church life. Face-to-face meetings never lose their power or importance, but our current culture’s time demands keep us from meeting as often as we’d like. Use mobile apps designed for churches, social networks, and mobile technology to keep people connected during their hectic weeks. If people can meet their spouse online, earn a college degree online, and interview for a job online, then churches should use these tools to support face-to-face connection.
3) Be transparent with them.
Share your strengths and weaknesses with them. Millennials know this world and everyone in it is messed up. Don’t hold back God’s truth or the truth about yourself and your church. Let them learn from your mistakes so that they won’t make the same ones.
4) Give them a place to serve.
Cast a big vision that inspires them to be like Jesus and do the things He did. Millennials love to be involved in meeting real needs, so give them the opportunity to serve. Create meaningful service opportunities that bring real change. Involve them in selecting and leading your next service project.