Five Things Millennials Desire from the Church.
I co-host a podcast titled Deeper. Our goal is to discuss the forces shaping our culture. The current series we are in is all about Millennials (truly a culture shifting subject). Here is an overhead view from the discussion from one of our episodes. To hear the full episode subscribe to our channel at: deeperpodcast.com/itunes
Here are five things millennials desire from the church:
- Millennials want authenticity, not relevancy: It is a false assumption that millennials are seeking brighter lights, louder sounds, and updated equipment in order to be relevant to them. In fact, relevancy is out of the window when it comes to millennials. What they genuinely desire in a church, business, boss, or relationship is authenticity. As explained by my co-host as we recorded this episode, millennials do not want the old man who attempts to be “hip” and “cool” to fit in, they would rather the old man be clumsy and dated, but himself. When it comes to our churches, millennials want a church that is radical and Jesus-shaped, not programs that have a "Meeting Millennials" class.
- Millennials want to be put to work: Often times millennials are looked at as being lazy and stubborn. Certainly that is a disease we all suffer from time-to-time, and I would agree there are millennials out there that fit this description full-time. Generally, however, millennials are looking to be put to work. They want to be part of a church that is doing something versus one that is talking about doing something. They want to be a part of the change, not just talk it into existence. Do you want workers in your church? Tap a millennial on the shoulder and call them to action. You might be surprised by how many say, "yes."
- Millennials are looking for mentors: This is the most crucial and impactful advice we have to offer. I cannot think of a single millennial I know that would turn down having a mentor. This is one of the first things that I sought after in my first year of ministry and the very thing many millennials in your church and businesses are seeking. Millennials want guidance, they have questions, and you can have the biggest impact of them through caring and meaningful mentor relationships.
- Millennials want to be theologically challenged: No more watered down gospel teachings; no more "treading lightly" around young people in fear of scaring them off. Millennial's faiths are consistently being challenged, and their questions are beginning to stack on top of each other. The church should be a space where millennials can ask difficult questions and receive answers that apply directly to their life and situations. Is your church creating a space where the millennials in your midst can ask the questions that they genuinely have?
- Millennials are tired of being talked about: Certainly the most ironic of these, but certainly an important element. The motivation behind this is that millennials are tired of being singled out and targeted. They are tired of hearing about how them being born in this generation (something they had no control over) dictates how many initially perceive them. Millennials want to be taken out of the spotlight and be like everybody else. They want to question, fail, and learn like every other generation before them. Giving them that should be the simplest and certainly one of our first moves. Attempt to remove the labels you have placed on people and simply view them as fellow human-beings.
Millennials are here to stay and they have a lot to offer our churches and businesses. They are a challenging group to categorize under one umbrella, so certainly there are principles here that do not apply to everyone. It is important to note that millennials have grown up in a world that is vastly different than the world of their parents and even more so their grandparents. With the rise of technology, society is learning to adapt to a much faster and exposed world. It is for that reason that listening to the voices of our millennials who have known nothing but this type of world will be worth your time and energy.
To continue in this conversation and others regarding the culture shaping force of millennials, subscribe to my podcast at deeperpodcast.com.