As a younger guy in ministry I hear all the time “Joe, how can we reach younger people”. This is a pressing question for many church leaders and congregations as churches continue to age while not able to reach the younger generation.
Well unfortunately I never have the One answer, but if you are a church leader and you are in a context where you really need some help and ideas to reach the younger families in your community here is a few principles for reaching younger people.
There is no magic bullet to get the young families pouring into your church but there are some things you can do to attract younger people. These principles are geared towards the younger family, but will also help in reaching singles or couples as well.
Love Their Kids
This is something that might seem obvious, but many times is not implemented or shown in an effective way. It is one thing to have a couple volunteers who are willing to pull the kids out during the sermon for their own lesson, it is another things to just absolutely instill in young families that you no doubt love their kids.
Some practical things to do for this is look at properly staffing. I very much am aware a lot of us cannot hire a children’s minister but find a strong volunteer team who can be the face of the children’s’ ministry to guests. Make sure to train your volunteers well. Also try to re-vamp your children’s space. Update the décor from the 70s, and make sure the latest and greatest safety procedures are in place, such as: check in and check out and fingerprinting for volunteers.
Love Your Community
In my experience younger people the “millennial” generation wants to see you doing things that are real and tangible things in your community. Younger people are motivated to “go be” the church in stead of just go to church. Whether you can set up a monthly food drive or a food pantry, give out a free meal, help administer tangible help to those affected by drugs, alcohol, and violence, or maybe give away clothes or job training.
The principle here is to love your community, although I hope the only motivation to do that is not just to reach younger families.
Love Our World
Younger people love big ideas and they love to make a difference on a global scale. Be involved in global missions and global non-profits. Helping those across the world is a vital part of our church health and a vital part of pursuing Jesus’ love here on Earth.
You do not need to change everything about your church to be attractional to young families. Though, you do need to seek authenticity and clarity. Define who your church is and her strengths and create a plan to show that authenticity to your community. Also, while in the midst of authenticity evaluate what maybe you can change and improve in your services, structure, and facilities.
No matter who you are trying to reach this has to be the encompassing motivation for why you even lead in the church. Teach and model to your congregation how to show Jesus to the young families and God will bless that in your ministry.
This is a difficult issue to address today, but I hope these principles can prove fruitful in your church, ministry, and leadership.
Have you experienced young family growth in your ministry recently? Share in the comments!