Sep 14, 2009

Millennial Parents...Do You Know Them?

A new generation of parents is coming to your ministry. Born between 1982 and 2000, the Millennials are and will be the parents of the children coming into your ministry. There were more babies born in 2007 than in the height of the baby boom. Here are some important characteristics to know about their generation and what it means for your ministry.
• They grew up with email. They want immediate response. Parents are used to immediate response through texting and cell phones. Return phone calls and emails quickly. A 24 hour response is best...48 hours at the most.
• They were brought up sheltered, coddled, and valued. The safety of their child while in your care is a high priority for them. Effective security systems and guidelines is a must.
• They put their children ahead of their careers. They are ready to lead their children spiritually as we give them the tools and resources they need.
• They are very interested in their child's success. Programs such as “Your Baby Can Read” abound. Parents want their children to grow spiritually. Have a clear, focused curriculum pathway and communicate it to parents. Partner with parents and give them tools to extend the weekend lesson into the home during the week.
• They want to make a difference. Get parents involved in their child's experience at church. Give them opportunities to serve in children’s ministry.
• They use technology and media to help focus their lives as parents. They reach out to their online family for parenting tips and information. Create a website and online community for parents in your ministry or point them to websites that offer parenting tips.
• They are team oriented. Ask for parent's advice and input. Have parent focus groups.
• They have short attention spans. They were MTV raised. Design communication tools that are precise and quick.
• They are diverse and tolerant. Make your church welcoming to everyone. Reflect this in your advertising and communication as well.
• They have high expectations of institutions and authority. Do things with excellence. Remember they are comparing you to Toys R' Us, Disney World, and McDonalds.
• They value community and are highly relational. They are constantly connected through Facebook, Twitter, email, and cell phones. Create a Facebook page for parents in your ministry. Spend time building relationships with them online and face to face.
• They emphasize family experiences over material things. They seek travel and learning experiences. Create shared experiences for families. Experiences like Happy Birthday Jesus parties at Christmas, family worship experiences, summer picnics, fall festivals, etc.
• Family activities are more common. Give families ideas for activities that can be catalysts for spiritual growth through discussion and debriefing.

We have a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Millennial families. Take time to study all of these characteristics with your team. Formulate an effective ministry strategy that will enable you to connect with the new generation of parents.

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