Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are about to change completely the way we do church, missions and ministry. They number almost 78 million, the largest generation in America's history - more than their parents' generation, the much talked about "Baby Boomers." Generally, Millennials are described as hopeful, relational, learners, and looking less to religion (only 13% of them consider any type of spirituality to be important in their lives and only 6% can be described as "Evangelicals"). They are not anti-Christian. In some ways it is worse - most of them do not think of religious matters at all.
So what are churches to do? In the book "The Millennials," authors Thom and Jess Rainer describe this generation and how they relate to family, technology and the church. The future is bright for those churches who understand this generation and what it takes to reach them. According to the authors, a church reaching a large number of Millennials will most likely reflect the following:
- They will be passionate about serving its community.
- They will be committed to reaching the nations with the gospel.
- A significant portion of their budget will be committed to caring for the needs of others.
Milleninal churches are "others-focused" rather than "self-focused."
I firmly believe that churches must get serious about community ministry. Church leaders must find ways to focus the majority of their efforts externally. Christian Millennials reflect some of the same values as the rest of their generation - they want to make a difference in the world. To the degree that churches can provide opportunities for their members to connect to their community, serve in meaningful ways, and incarnate the gospel, they will become attractive to the Millennial generation. According to the authors, "Some of the actions churches can take to reach the Millennial Christians will likely prove helpful in reaching the non-Christian portion of this generation as well."
The Millennials are coming. Is your church ready for them? The Jacksonville Baptist Association stands ready to help you connect to your community, meet needs, and share the gospel of Christ. Contact me at email@example.com if I can assist in any way.
Church-Community Ministries Director