How to Get Millennials in Your Church

Written by Stephen Rawlings on Mar 10, 2020 in Outreach

How does my church continue its growth for the long haul?

How do I reach millennials? 

At StartCHURCH, our mission is to enable church planters, pastors, and ministry leaders with the tools they need to be successful. We want to see your God-given vision come to fruition, and we want to help you reach the next generation with Christ. 

The problem is, the church has a lot of biases thrust upon itself. According to a study conducted by Barna, millennials view the church as judgmental, hypocritical, and exclusive.   

Now, I am not here to debate if these accusations are true. But pastors need to be able to face these perceptions in their ministries.

So, let’s talk about how to reach millennials. 

Why does it matter? 

Every person matters to God, but many people think the younger generation is rebellious against faith. However, research tells us differently.

According to demographic research, millennials make up about 30% of the voting population and about 22% of the entire population. 

This means that millennials make up a large percentage of the population in America, but they are abandoning churches over time. 

The Pew Research Center did a study on the percentage of younger millennials who believe in God, and the numbers are shocking. But not in the way you may think. In this study, 50% of younger millennials polled said they believed in God absolutely, and 21% believe in God and are reasonably certain. So, 7 out of 10 millennials have a belief in God. 

Faith is not under fire, but the church's reputation is under intense scrutiny among the younger generations. Understanding this generation is paramount to spreading the teachings of Jesus. 

Here are some practical tips for reaching millennials. 

Millennials understand bad advertising

Let's face it; the millennial generation has seen more advertising in their lifetime than any of their predecessors, and that means they have seen a lot of bad advertising.

Advertisers are spending billions of dollars to convince young people that their product is the "cool new thing." As a culture, we are flooded with advertisements and technology that allows marketers to reach their consumers better.  

How does your church stand a chance? 

Well, only 8% of millennials in the Barna study said that they didn't like church because it was out of date. 

Millennials are not looking for the church to be relevant with the times; they are looking for the church to be authentic. Your church needs to be your church, and your church is authentic. We can learn from other successful churches, but your church's brand is unique and cannot be copied. 

How can you show your church authentically?

One of the best ways is through your church's website. Even beyond millennials, people will research your church. People read online reviews before trying a new restaurant; they want to know about your church before they set foot in it. 

By having a strong online presence, your church can explain its story, increase giving through online means, and show what it's like to attend your service.

Streaming your services can help keep people connect to the church even if they are unable to attend every Sunday. Your website is one of the strongest tools in your arsenal, and you need one.

If building your web presence seems overwhelming, StartCHURCH can help. We have helped thousands of churches with StartSITES, and we can help you too. Use technology to your advantage by showing your church's authentic self online.

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Millennials value community and service

Millennials want to belong to something bigger than themselves. They want to both fit in and stand out in a culture that will give them salad when they need a steak. 

Technology has brought us closer together, but also pushed us further apart, but real human experiences are still necessary for today's culture. And your church is uniquely positioned to help facilitate a need for community. We have all felt the connection that comes from worshiping together in service. 

Focus on your church's community by being a warm and inviting place for all people. Everyone needs Jesus, but the younger generations believe that the church gives off an exclusive vibe to people.  

Millennials want everyone to feel welcomed to the table, and Forbes says that millennials may become the most generous generation yet. They are changing giving because they grew up believing that their actions matter. Millennials want their church to be involved in community programs and serving the poor. They want to know that their church is practicing what they preach, and those less fortunate can look to their church for assistance. 

Your church can attract millennials by doing what it does best, being like Jesus. Your church can assist the poor, hold food drives, clean up the community, or, better yet, start a community development corporation. 

If you have a passion for a particular issue, you can create a CDC to focus on this mission. If you have a passion for the widows, you can create a CDC that will be focused on providing support after their spouse goes home to be with the Lord. If you want to touch the youth of America by starting a mentoring program, you can do that. Businesses have become focused on corporate social responsibility, and your church can, too! 

If you have any questions about starting a CDC, give us a call at 877-494-4655. We can talk to you about your vision, and help to create your documents and give your back time. 

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Millennials want a seat at the table

Do you want to see an increase in millennial attendance?

Hire some millennials!

If you want to reach young people, you have to make young people a priority. 

We talked earlier about millennials making up a significant amount of the demographics, but if your church doesn't have young staff members, you are positioning yourself not to represent millennials well. 

The average age of a pastor is currently around 55, and that puts him or her at 20-30 years older than one of the largest demographics in your area. From a purely pragmatic stance, it would serve your church to have some younger staff members, and not be afraid of bringing in a new generation to your staff. 

Millennial staff members will be in a better position to represent that millennial mindset as your church grows, and offer up their ideas for remaining both relevant and real in a world that is anything but.

I am not saying that all of your pastors need to be younger, but by including members of younger generations in your staff, it will show inclusivity and friendliness to the next generation.  

The vitality of the Body of Christ

Every part of the Body of Christ is unique and needed. Millennials need the wisdom of the older generations, and the older generations need to remember what it is to be young. 

By working together, these generations will propel the Kingdom in the 21st century. 

Elevation Church's staff demographic is 80 percent millennials, and it made Fortunes top 100 places to work for millennials in 2017. Elevation was the only church to make it that year.

The presence of a younger generation can have a positive impact on the local community, and it can also impassion the older generations. Young members bring vitality, joy, and a fresh optimism to your services. 

We know your church values the next generation, but consider millennials as you move forward with God's vision. They may surprise you! 

And if you are at the beginning of starting your ministry, give us a call at 877-494-4655 to learn about our StartRIGHT Service. We can help set up your church's documents to be fully prepared for the crowds of millennials that will be knocking at your door.

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Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Raul Rivera

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