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Millennials
Today’s websites, video streaming and apps are no more special to Millennials than pews, hymnbooks and overhead projectors were to pre-Millennials. They’re not impressed by them, but they expect to have them. And they expect them to work well.

Millennials, Technology and The Church? It’s Complicated

For a short window of time, electronic technology was a whiz-bang way to get people in the church door. Now it’s the background noise we don’t notice, until we don’t have it.

Millennials have a complicated relationship with technology. 

When you’re inundated with technology, it stops being special. The only time you notice it, is when it stops working.

From Netflix to Instagram, to programmable thermostats and coffee makers, they’re so connected to technology, that it’s easy to think that they’re in love with it. 

They’re not. 

For millennials, technology is like the air they breathe. It’s a fact of life. 

When you’re inundated with technology, it stops being special. The only time you notice it, is when it stops working.

Millennials will not be attracted to our churches by our cool use of new tech. They’re too used to it, to be impressed by it.

Millennials won’t rush to our churches, because we’re advertising with the sharpest graphics, using clever interactive video, or signing their kids into the nursery with the latest KidMin app.

If the technology is inferior, though, or it stops working well? Then they’re gone. Fast.

That’s what makes it complicated.

Tech Is Expected, But It’s Not That Impressive

We must use the necessary and expected technology in our churches, without fooling ourselves into thinking that it will be the key to unlocking the hearts of hard-to-reach millennials (or nonmillennials, for that matter).

Technology is a tool. That’s all.

Today’s websites, video streaming and apps are no more special to millennials than pews, hymnbooks and overhead projectors were to premillennials.

They’re not impressed by them, but they expect to have them. And they expect them to work well.

The Message Matters

For a short window of time, electronic technology was a whiz-bang way to get people in the church door. Now it’s the background noise we don’t notice, until we don’t have it.

Great churches aren’t built on great tech. They’re built on the message that great tech should be helping us deliver.

For technology to do the job, especially for millennials, it needs to be invisible. It needs to clear a path, so people can experience the personal, spiritual and emotional aspects of a worship service, without getting in the way of that experience.

The moment the tech gets noticed, it stops doing the job that it’s supposed to do.

Whether it causes us to gasp in awe or groan in frustration, when the technology becomes the issue, the message has been buried beneath one more layer of unnecessary dirt.

Put the Story First

Millennials are no different than any other generation, in any of the ways that really matter. They’re trying to figure out what’s important to them, how the world works, and what their role is in all of it.

To the degree that our technology points them toward those answers, which can only be found in Christ, it serves them well. To the degree our technology pretends to be the answer, we have failed them.

Generations ago, the high-tech artisans of the day created stained glass windows.

People sat in awe as the light refracted through the multi-colored panes that told the stories of Bible heroes. But soon, as stained glass became a part of every church, from grand cathedrals to small chapels, people stopped being awed by the pretty pictures.

But the stories they told still mattered.

That’s how it is with millennials today. The tech we use should always be a servant to the story we’re telling them.

When it does that, it’s more than a cool new tool. It creates a pathway to changed lives.

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