The church needs millennials and millennials need the church. Here are some honest ideas on reaching millennials from Entrust’s own Katie Hoffman.
“We crave substance. We can see right through the fancy coffee shops and flashy light shows some churches use to “attract” our age group. Sadly, many Christians are afraid of “offending.” We end up without the truth, when all we want is something real—like friendship!
“Many of us are struggling to survive financially. A lot of us hold several jobs, especially since we can’t count on social security being there for us. When I worked Saturday nights until 12, it was hard to get to church in the morning. I also worked Sunday afternoons, which made it hard to want to go to morning church. It would be great if churches could offer morning and evening services so we don’t have to miss out if we work weekends.
“If millennials go to church, they need people to notice them, greet them, try to get to know them, help them connect to something meaningful, pray for them, let them know they are being prayed for and missed if they don’t come back. We often live far away from our families and are hungry to develop a sense of family among friends. The church can and should be that.
“We feel awkward if there aren’t people at our age and stage of life at church.
“We want meaningful connection. Are there opportunities to serve the community — alleviating poverty, fighting trafficking, serving the homeless, visiting shut-ins, supporting single moms, mentoring troubled children — or is the church only inwardly focused and cliquey?
“We really want to serve. It can be easy to feel guilty at church because we do not have the resources to tithe or time to commit on a regular basis (ex: ushering). There need to be opportunities for us to serve when we can (ex: make coffee/bring cookies/work on a Habitat for Humanity weekend build).
“There is a temptation to withdraw entirely from religion if we perceive it as legalistic and “exclusive” or even radical. Millennials need people to show them the personal benefits and guarantees of Christianity.”
Up for the challenge? OK then, let’s pray and get to work, inviting, welcoming, listening to and paying loving attention to the millennials in our midst. Invest in tomorrow’s leaders, today.