A lot of my friends don’t really want to go to their church. But we want to be here, and the older people in our church can see that… so they want us to be here. Our whole church treats us like we’re the church of today, not the church of the future. – Ashlee, age 17 (Growing Young p 13)
In a recent blog, Church Health consultant, Thom S Rainer shared the following statistic; “Only 42% of Millennial Churchgoers believe church members are authentic and caring”. By implication, that suggests that nearly 60% of millennials (those aged in their 20s and 30s) either don’t hold an opinion or believe that church members are inauthentic and lack the capacity to care. How tragic!
I wonder what the statistics would look like in our church? In your church? What stories could you share which would give clarity to those statistics?
In their book, Growing Young, (Baker Books, 2016) Powell, Mulder and Griffin share “6 essential strategies to help young people discover and love your church”. These were uncovered through the Churches Engaging Young People project (2012-2015). The six strategies are:
Unlocking keychain leadership: instead of centralising authority, empower others – especially young people.
Empathise with today’s young people: instead of judging or criticising, step into the shoes of this generation.
Take Jesus’ message seriously: instead of asserting formulaic gospel claims, welcome young people into a Jesus-centred way of life.
Fuel a warm community: instead of focussing on cool worship or programs, aim for warm peer and intergenerational friendships.
Prioritise young people (and families) everywhere: instead of giving lip service to how much young people matter, look for creative ways to tangibly support, resource, and involve them in all facets of your congregation.
Be the best neighbours: instead of condemning the world outside your walls, enable young people to neighbour well locally and globally.
Each of these strategies will be unpacked a little over the next six articles. Use them with church councils, leadership groups or simply as an individual to help reflect and respond to the implications from Growing Young.
If you wish to learn more, purchase the book Growing Young. It provides deeper insights as well as further reflective questions to help shape and transform your congregation.
To think about and discuss
- Reflect on the quote by Ashlee. What stands out for you?
- What evidence can you share within your congregation that could provide insight as to how millennials feel about your church?
- Which core commitment (essential strategy) immediately stands out to you? Why?
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