Ministry to Millennials: An Example of Why Churches are Stuck

Saw this report earlier this week from The Millennial Impact project. It identifies several trends with Millennials that should raise concerns and more conversation among church leaders. Here are some specific examples:

  • About twice as many people are willing to volunteer if a peer invites them, but the church is still relying on events (like Sunday services) to encourage serving. In fact, 81 percent of Millennials prefer to be invited by a friend while only 43 percent would prefer to be invited through an event. Instead of encouraging people to tap the shoulders of their friends, we’re still relying on platform announcements and bulletin ads to fill volunteer roles.
  • Far more Millennials prefer to give online, but in the church we primarily focus on giving in-person. Less than half of Millennials prefer to give in-person while 70 percent prefer online. Do you have an intentional, ongoing strategy to encourage online giving? If not, you’re probably not engaging adults ages 20 to 35.
  • The number one reason Millennials have never given to a non-profit using their smartphones is because they’ve never been asked. Most churches, of course, have never even considered asking for donations using smartphones. We’re still discouraging people from using their phones in services, rather than acknowledging that most people have smartphones and tablets with them for Bible reading, giving, note taking, etc. We are still handing out paper bulletins and assuming people will write a check.

Instead of blaming young adults for not engaging in our ministries, it’s about time we start taking some responsibility. Our strategies and systems are broken. The Gospel message doesn’t need to change, but the methods we use to reach people for Jesus has to reflect our current environment.

There’s a reason why churches and denominations are in decline. We continue to be religious about using the same methods hoping and praying they’ll somehow generate different results. That’s a recipe for decline and ultimately death.

Of course, we’d rather be comfortable in our own preferences than take risks that may help us reach the next generations. And, that’s another reason why churches are stuck.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of TonyMorganLive.com. He’s a consultant, leadership coach and writer who helps churches get unstuck and have a bigger impact. More important, he has a passion for people. He’s all about helping people meet Jesus and take steps in their faith. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). With Tim Stevens, Tony has co-authored Simply Strategic Stuff, Simply Strategic Volunteers and Simply Strategic Growth – each of which offers valuable, practical solutions for different aspects of church ministry. His book, Killing Cockroaches (B&H Publishing) challenges leaders to focus on the priorities in life and ministry. His most recent books on leadership and ministry strategy are available on Kindle. Tony has also written several articles on staffing, technology, strategic planning and leadership published by organizations like Outreach Magazine, Catalyst and Pastors.com. Tony and his wife, Emily, live near Atlanta, Georgia with their four children — Kayla, Jacob, Abby and Brooke.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 

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