With millennials representing the largest age group by far, most churches today are asking "How do we reach millennials?" However, before you can reach millennials, you must first understand them.
Understanding what millennials value and assessing how your church lines up with these values are the first steps to becoming a millennial-friendly church. These nine values can make the difference between whether your church will attract or repel millennials.
Churches who reach millennials are those who understand the importance of relationships.
1. Authenticity As we review this list of values, authenticity is a great place to begin. It is important that you do not simply say that your church has the values on this list. You must truly live them out. Millennials can detect the difference between aspirations and values, so it will hurt more than help for a church to pretend holding such values. If you are serious about seeking millennials, your church must go all in, and invest deeply into the values outlined here.
2. Making a Difference Millennials want opportunities to get involved in meaningful work and are looking for churches who are truly making a difference in their community and the lives of those connected to the church. Commit to sharing how your church is impacting the world and be sure to give millennials a chance to get involved.
3. Choice Millennials like to have options and flexibility. How can your church give members more choices in each area of ministry? Maybe you can offer different worship experiences, replace in-person or print classes/materials with online options, allow members to volunteer in a variety of areas instead of committing to one long-term, etc. Audit your church and look for any choices or flexibility you can give members.
4. Urgency Millennials are accustomed to instant gratification. How can you meet their needsnow? How can you speed up communication? What next steps can they take now? Replace long processes and wait times wherever possible.
5. Education Millennials are the most educated generation to date. They value self-development and feedback. A church that values education will provide ongoing training and mentoring that will help members well beyond their volunteer work.
6. Individual Attention Churches who reach millennials are those who understand the importance of relationships. millennials want to be known and understood. They don't want to be a number, but instead are looking to build meaningful relationships. Look for ways to intentionally help your attendees connect with others.
7. Fun Millennials look for social opportunities and fun in every aspect of their lives and church is no different. They want to make friends, they want to laugh, they want to enjoy attending church. Is attending your church fun?
8. Diversity Millennials believe the church should be a source of unity, not division. They are looking for churches who reflect the communities around them and who welcome and appreciate all people for who they are. They want opportunities to interact with and learn from those who are different than themselves. What steps can your church take to increase and celebrate diversity?
9. Technology Churches who embrace technology will be embraced by millennials. They have grown up with technology and it is a way of life for them. Fortunately, technology is a tool that can be used by churches to amplify the other values in this list as well.
Understanding the people you want to reach is an essential step to being able to effectively reach them.
What other values do you think are important to millennials?