The increasing absence of millennials from church life is already a widely discussed topic. Perceived reasons for their apparent lack of interest differ, but there’s a general consensus that those aged between about 20 to 40, need encouragement to be regular churchgoers. Making that challenging, though, is that millennials are leading more and more hectic lives.
Having lots of online content available means that millennials can ‘attend’ church and feel the benefit, even if they can’t be there in person.
To engage with millennials, the church needs to come to them. Video and social media can be vital tools in making this possible.
Let’s take a look at how digital media can help give traditional messages relevance in millennial life.
Answers On Demand
Millennials have grown up with the internet, so they’re not used to waiting for answers. If you don’t give them the answer they are looking for quickly, they’ll go elsewhere.
Making sure you have lots of searchable online content is a great solution. Short videos – of your sermons, or created to address a certain topic, can be designed to answer your congregation’s FAQs or questions by online visitors to your church site.
Knowledge and answers are available at a click, in the easily digestible format that they’re used to. Once it’s easy for millennials to locate the content they’re interested in, you’ll find that your church will quickly expand its reach to these individuals.
A Sense of Community
The 2018 Barna Research Group report on millennials showed that 78 percent identified ‘community’ as a word they associated with the ideal church.
Competing with the other demands on millennials’ time can make fostering a sense of community difficult. If people don’t have time to come to one place regularly, they’re going to find it hard to interact with that community in the traditional, physical sense.
An active presence on social networks can help would-be churchgoers to form ‘digital communities’ that discuss and share content as actively as any physical community.
If your congregation can be part of a buzzing online community, they’ll be active and engaged with your church. And churches can make more of these communities by providing short video content they can easily share with friends online, so that their congregation can do the job of spreading reach for them.
A Sanctuary From Hectic Life
Sanctuary is another word that is heavily associated with the ideal church: Millennials want to see a church as respite from the daily grind. They might not have time to come to church regularly, but it’s easy to offer them another way to switch off from work.
Having lots of online content available means that millennials can ‘attend’ church and feel the benefit, even if they can’t be there in person. If you’ve got the resources, you can even go a step further, and let them livestream your worship services, helping them to feel even closer to the church environment.
Making It Happen
Of course, all these initiatives are dependent on having lots of video – which comes with its own difficulties.
You might be able to generate lots of content, but you’ll also need to think about how to ensure that it’s safely stored, accessible and easily searchable. You may want to think about putting into place a video production workflow to help you do this. Although it might sound daunting, all this really means is using the right tools to streamline the way you work with video.
For example, a media asset management system can help you tag your content easily, so you and your followers can quickly find content by simply entering keywords. So, if you’re looking for content by a particular speaker, you can just enter or select their name to see everything that relates to that speaker.
A system like this will also help you schedule and push video to social media, so that it’s easy to drive the online communities that are so important for churchgoing millennials. Take a situation where a particular hashtag is trending on Twitter. Set up in the right way, a media asset management system can identify relevant content in your system and suggest topical posts for your social media accounts. This can really reduce the resources you have to invest in keeping your followers engaged – and in getting new ones. Plus, if it gets to the point where you want to push out live content, a media asset management system will help to engineer this.
Crucially, once you’ve started using lots of online video, it might well become one of your most valuable assets.
You’ll need to make sure that it’s safe in the right type of storage and easily retrievable. After all, you don’t want to make your valuable content susceptible to a flood, or something else outside of your control. Again, a media asset management system can help you with this by providing a single access point for all of your content, even if it’s in different types of storage.
So, if you’re looking to get millennials back into the church, the answer could be simpler than you think.
Use video to take your church to them, and you’ll grow an engaged virtual congregation in no time.