Jun 17, 2015

5 Keys to Keeping Young Families Connected to Your Church

The Millennials, born between 1981 and 1997, are the next generation of parents.

As they have children, many of them will walk into the doors of our churches looking for spiritual guidance for themselves and their children.

The big question...how can you keep them connected?

Recent research by Barna says Millennials are looking for 5 key things.  Focus on these and you'll see them connecting to your church.

1. RELATIONSHIPS
Millennials are twice as likely to stay at a church if they have a close personal relationship with someone in the church.  When they do not develop relationships in the church, they drop out.  Studies show 7 out of 10 Millennials who drop out of church did not have a close friendship.

If you want to keep young families connected to your church, be intentional about providing ways for them to get relationally connected with others. 

 2. TEACH CULTURAL DISCERNMENT
Pop culture is a driving force for Millennials.  Bringing their faith in Jesus to problems they encounter in the culture is a powerful motivator for these young parents.

Millennials want their faith to move beyond just Sunday worship.  Studies show that Millennials who stay connected to church have been taught how to effectively navigate the culture.  This does not mean inundating them with overprotective impulses that are driven by fear of the culture.  That approach will turn them off.  Instead, we must help them engage the culture from a Christian perspective.   

3. REVERSE MENTORING
Millennials want to make a difference...now.  From their perspective, institutional church life is too hierarchical.  They are not interested in "earning" their way to the top so much as they want to put their gifts and skills to work now.

Reverse mentoring means giving these young parents opportunities to lead and serve, instead of asking them to "wait" their turn.  An example is in the area of technology, where they can teach older generations.

When Millennials are given opportunities to serve, they are twice as likely to stay connected to church.   

4. VOCATIONAL DISCIPLESHIP
A fourth way churches can deepen their connection with young families is to teach them a theology of vocation or calling.  When Millennials view their gifts and passions as part of God's calling, they are three times more likely to stay connected.

This means helping them see how the Bible applies to their field or career interests.  Many churches only dive into this with young adults who show interest in traditional church-based ministry and in doing so miss the majority of Millennials.  Vocational discipleship is connecting Millennials to the history of Christianity through the unique work God has called them to.

5. CONNECTION WITH JESUS
Millennials who remain active in church are much more likely to say Jesus speaks to them personally in a way that is real and relevant.  They find a sense of authority in the Bible and in their experience with God.

A key is helping Millennials see that their connection with Jesus must be wholly integrated into all areas of their life and not compartmentalized.

Here's some questions to discuss with your team...
How are we helping young families build relationships with each other?  What are some ways we can improve in this area?

Do we teach young families to engage the culture or to hide from the culture?  What are some steps we can take to help them be better equipped to engage the culture?

Are we giving young parents the opportunity to lead and serve?  What are some ways we can do this more effectively? 

Are we helping young parents see their vocation as their ministry?  Are we equipping them to make a  difference for Christ with their job? 

Are young parents encountering God's presence in a real and personal way in our services?  Are we  giving them the tools they need to connect with God during the week? 

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