by Aaron Earls
Most churches say they want to reach millennials, but many confess they don’t know where to start. Congregations know where to reach families, professionals, and senior citizens, but too often young adults seem impossible to find.
The reality is millennials are all around you and are open to conversations about important matters of life and faith. If you’re wondering where to start, here are five places the church can reach millennials.
1. Scanning through social media
Millennials are digital natives. They grew up online. Three out of 4 have created a profile on a social networking site. With it, they connect with friends (some of whom they’ve never met in person), communicate with the world, and check out your church.
Be active on social media using the various platforms to point others to your church and Christ, but do so in a way consistent with your congregation. If your gatherings are more relaxed, let your tweets be less formal. If your church is traditional and heavily structured, don’t send out silly Facebook updates.
2. Serving in the community
While Millennials have a reputation of being self-absorbed—over half have posted a “selfie” online—they passionately support causes that inspire them. Over 80 percent made a financial gift to an organization in 2012 and many others volunteer their time.
When your church engages those next door and around the world, you will demonstrate you care about more than just “your people.” Millennials will then recognize your church as a place they can come and make a difference.
3. Roaming college campuses
The current young adult generation is the most educated of all time. More of them than ever are attending college and many are moving significant distances away from home to do so. During this time of transition for young adults, churches should be looking to reach them.
If your church is near a college campus, partner with an established campus ministry or provide leadership for starting one. Be on the campus to serve students and, eventually, they will be in your church to serve with you.
4. Living in diverse areas
More than 40 percent of adult millennials are non-white, the highest share of any generation. In The Millennials, Thom and Jess Rainer point out that about 70 percent of young adults have friends from different ethnic or racial backgrounds and nearly 9 in 10 say they would be open to marrying someone outside of their background.
More than simply seeing it as a necessity, this generation enjoys and appreciates diversity. It’s something they value. If the church wants to find and reach millennials, a great place to look is within diverse communities.
5. Sitting in your pews
So much is made about the growth of the Nones and the drop in religious identification among millennials. While that is the case, churches would do well to remember those statistical trends do not negate the fact that many young adults are active in church today.
As you spend time planning how to reach unchurched and dechurched millennials in your community, don’t forget to involve the young adults who are already serving within the body. Encourage them in their faith and leverage them to help you reach their fellow millennials.
For more information on this generation and how the church can read them, read The Millennials by Thom and Jess Rainer.
- 6 Reasons Millennials Aren’t at Your Church
- 7 Ways to Draw Millennials to Your Church
- Millennials & the End of Osmosis Christianity
- Jefferson Bethke: Reaching Millennials
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.