Millennials and Their Obsession with Meaning
Millennials see the world differently than Boomers and Gen Xers. When given the proper motivation, they are passionate workers seeking creative solutions to some of the most pervasive and difficult problems on the planet. Learning how to effectively motivate and communicate with millennials is essential.
“Millennials thrive in environments of creativity and change. They don’t like to stay static for long and constantly look for fresh ways to ramp up productivity and efficiency,” writes Zeynep Ilgaz, Co-Founder and President of Confirm Biosciences and TestCountry. Millennials have grown up in a world that is constantly growing faster, changing and connecting at speeds previous generations could barely imagine. Technological development has created not only new devices, but also new opportunities for interactions and millennials adapt to the latest and newest without batting an eye. Monotonous routines, then, where every day is the same as the one before, drain the energy and creativity that millennials are known for.
Applying this to church, there are very few millennials who expect services to be the same week after week. For these few, services become a kind of comfort when everything else is changing. For the majority of millennials, however, such services actually prohibit engagement and inspiration. Knowing which kind of millennials are in your congregation and community is imperative. Burlap is presently working on a tool that will help your church better understand its congregation.
“Millennials don’t need much hand-holding. They’re happiest when given responsibility and independence at work…give them space to take initiative,” continues Ilgaz. In the church-world, we are far too slow to trust younger generations with responsibility, often responding with the dreaded, “We’ve never done it that way.” Millennials need the opportunity to have a voice in making decisions and the practical living out of the mission and vision of the church. Inviting millennials into conversations with church elders and then following through on some of their ideas will bring change and energy into the congregation as a whole.
“Millennials are obsessed with meaning. According to the 2015 Deloitte Millennial Survey, most millennials choose jobs based on their ‘sense of purpose.’ They want to make a difference and will soon leave if they find more meaning someplace else.”
As the church, everything we do is infused with meaning. We choose to join God in bringing glimpses of heaven to earth, righting the wrongs of the world, bringing hope and healing to those marginalized, hurt and made to feel small. The church is entrusted with the message and work of Christ, going out to the ends of the earth. When this message gets lost in doctrinal disputes or business meetings, millennials will be quick to abandon looking for a situation rich with more meaning in which to contribute.
The church is the place and people where creativity, initiative, and meaning should abound. Millennials can help lead the church through the change, into the community with the message of hope and forgiveness, if we give them the opportunity. In what ways are you giving millennials in your congregation the opportunity to lead in key roles?