Reaching Millennials has become a trend for churches, ministries, and everybody else who has a product, resource, or idea that desires to get the attention of the youthful population. According to Google, a "millennial" is "a person reaching adulthood in the early 21st century." Of all the characteristics generally attributed to millennials, the one that resonates the most with me is that we make intentional decisions. Millennials wrent the restrictive veil of "be seen and not heard" and have emerged as the generation that asks, "why?" "Because I said so" will never be a suitable response for these young adults because we've been given the power of choice. We have high expectations and the right to choose what we engage in and how we engage in it. We are informed like no generation before us and stay connected to information as a lifestyle. Because we are intentional, the church must become intentional about the discipleship of a new generation who didn't grow up in Sunday school because we were given a choice.
I believe that young adults are still searching for a God encounter. Many millennials now consider themselves" spiritual" rather than connect and commit to the organized institution of religion because what we experience does not consistently resemble the description on the packaging. ADD and ADHD was made popular in our generation. Rather than getting us help and attention, many of us were resolved to medication but never experienced the "divine healing" that church led us to have faith in. Therefore, to compel us with the message of Jesus Christ's love for us and God's life-changing power, we've got to see the resemblance of that love and experience that power consistently and authentically.
Use Clear Concise Messaging
Though we are intelligent and informed, Shakespearean vernacular can often be a little much for anyone to decode, embrace and respond to simultaneously. We want to understand the Bible at its core, but realize that life-change is needed now and we don't have the luxury of learning it over time. We need and want the strongest dose of Jesus we can get - no chaser necessary. So, the message of Christ must be made clear and concise. Research shows that we don't have long attention spans. (It's actually decreasing annually on a steady basis!) Once you've got our attention, you've got to get straight to the point. No need for oratorical acrobatics with us because you'll lose us in the turn. Until you've nurtured us to handle the meat through mentoring and bible study, we need clear, concise milk!
We're Seeking an Interactive Experience
Many of those in the congregation, both young and seasoned, show signs and symptoms of ADHD during worship services, whether they've been clinically diagnosed or not. You've got to keep us actively involved. A good sign to indicate our level of engagement is whether or not you've overcome our smartphones and mobile devices. Do not make the mistake of trying to take them from us, cause that's too much like turning off the oxygen. Rather, be creative about drawing us in to the experience. Challenge us to use our phones to find the scripture. Encourage us to check in to let our network know we're in church! Give us a hashtag to share after we've "liked or followed" your church's page! Worship can and should be an engaging experience for everyone. Your mature saints, really want to share your hashtags too! Encourage them to partner up with a young person who can assist them. That moment of fellowship will bridge the gap between generations and help push your corporate worship experience to another level.
We Want Intentional Life-Change
We want to see results. We want to leave changed. But life-change is a process that takes even longer than a 60-minute sermon. Therefore, the concepts shared in the worship experience must be "mobile". We've got to be able to connect with the music, message and experience beyond the benediction. If the songs touch my heart, We'll add them to our playlists until the songs we used to listen to take a backseat to our new favorites list. Once we understand what "faith" is and how to apply it to our everyday lives, we will step out on faith to seek better providing employment and give more consistently.
The challenge is finding a way to engage us every day until Christ (not church) becomes our lifestyle! Believe it or not, the generation that's missing from church is in search of "the church". If your evangelism program compels us, or one of your members invites us, we'll come try it once without any gimmicks or giveaways. Feeding us is always appropriate, but at the core, we really want a God experience that is relevant and relatable to our everyday lives! You want to catch some new fish? Cast out your nets on the other side! But if your store is not going to be committed to go through the patient process of catching, cleaning, and discipling to maturity, then just take down the sign!
We look forward to visiting with you really soon!