3 Reasons Your Church Isn’t Reaching Millennials – by Jonathan Pearson

3 Reasons Your Church Isn't Reaching Millennials - by Jonathan Pearson

You do more “show” than service

For the last decade or so, the church has sought to produce a show each and every week. The truth is that this worked for a previous generation that was fed up with tradition steeped in inauthentic rituals. They were eager for something that more resembled what they’d get at a concert or on the radio.

Things have shifted. For millennials today, it’s not hard to find a good show or good music. Go to youtube, open up the music app on your smartphone and great sounding music isn’t far away. The “show” is no longer the winner. What millennials want is authenticity… or at least the appearance of such. They can see when something is too staged, but also want it to be good and comparable to those things they see elsewhere. No longer can we just turn down the house lights, turn up the spots, and tell people to come. It has to be more than that. It has to be real. It can’t be too rehearsed that it’s sterile and leaves no room for emotion.

You forget about excellence

Real is good, bad is not. As I referenced above, millennials want authenticity, but they also want quality. Just because someone can sing and worship authentically doesn’t mean they can do it well. Millennials want both. Don’t sacrifice one for the other or you’ll miss the target. Sure, you can get by with being somewhat “fly by the seat of your pants,” but be sure it’s good.

They can’t find anyone like them

One of the key reasons millennials aren’t at your church may be because the few that you do have are never seen. I get it. They’re young. They think they know a lot, but you’re not sure. You still have to give them input and a presence in your body. You don’t have to give them the keys to the building, but other young people want to see young people in a place of leadership within you church. They want to see that people like them and people that they’re likely to have a relationship with can have influence and hold a key role.

I’ve heard it said many times that, if you don’t give a leader something to do, they’ll find something elsewhere. Unfortunately, churches have long failed to give young people real and meaningful work. They’ve found it elsewhere. Promote the young people. Trust them to the most extent you think you can. Let them surprise you and let them be seen by their peers.

Your turn. What’s your experience with leading millennials? I’d love to hear.


*This article was originally posted on JonathanPearson.net*

Jonathan Pearson is a millennial determined to leave the world in better shape than he found it. He is the Orangeburg Campus Pastor at Cornerstone Community Church and Assistant Director of The Sticks Network. He is the co-creator of MillennialLeader.com, an online community for young leaders and author of Next Up: 8 Shifts Great Young Leaders Make. Check out his blog at JonathanPearson.net and connect with him on Twitter.

Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Spiritual Development Pastor at a fast growing church in Batavia, Ohio, called The Crossing. Among the many things he does at The Crossing, serving on the teaching team is one of them. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.