There may be an assumption here that I’m stating Millennials aren’t spiritual or believe in God, but that’s far from the truth.
My perspective comes from working at a church leading Millennials (1996-2006) then helping companies retain & train Millennials (2007-present). Essentially I’ve followed Millennials around for 20 years. What I’ve found is as Millennials have evolved, churches haven’t.
Think about your favorite decade of music. Isn’t it based on what you listened to while in school? The problem is churches are playing the same music from the ’50’s…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Churches can’t reach Millennials because the model they are using is broken.
Millennials want answers to today’s issues, but to put it bluntly the church isn’t relevant. God and the Bible haven’t changed, but the means to tell their stories have. For instance, who wants to wake up on their day off (Sunday) to hear someone tell them what they shouldn’t be doing? Feedback is vital, yet we live in a day where social media, videos and texting are the way we get our information. The mediums churches use don’t reach Millennials.
Millennials desire collaboration and community more than any generation before them. I find it unnecessary to have Sunday service weekly when rarely do you get to communicate with others and if you do, it’s usually surface-level conversations after the program is over. Why not emphasize smaller group meetings weekly in people’s homes or public meeting places? We learn more in discussion than we do in “class.”
Events can serve the purpose of getting large amounts of people together, but either interest-based or training-type focused solely. What if a “church” spent it’s funds on creating a local business within the community that offered jobs, programs and resources to it’s neighbors? Isn’t that what social entrepreneurship is? Impact breeds lifestyle and lifestyle is what influences others.
The irony of this post is the people who will agree with it are who it’s for: Millennials. The ones who are offended by it: older folks who attend church regularly.
The best example I can give you is once I was at a church conference with multiple generations in the audience. The speaker said, “raise your hand if you disagree with how your youth programs are being run.” Most of the older people put their hand up. The speaker’s response? Good. It’s not for you anyway.
If you enjoyed this musing, check out the inception of my idea here: The Startup Church.
Scott Asai is a speaker/coach that has been developing leaders for 20+ years – athletes, companies and individuals. His focus is helping people develop leadership skills to advance in their careers. Scott tends to attract a large audience of Millennials and Introverts to his programs/events. His professional background consists of: B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, Certified Professional Coach and Certified Strengths Coach.