Cultural Narratives that Millennials Get

There are many shifts that church leaders need to make in order to reach non-religious or nominally religious millennials. One of the tasks of the pastor that must change is preaching. Brian Russell pointed out earlier this week that a shift from preaching to the choir to communicating with cultural clarity must be made.

His point is that we can no longer assume that our shared story is known. It’s not just that it isn’t known by those outside the church. Rather it may not even be known within the church. So using metaphors and imagery embedded in the Bible or phrases and words that seem common to a Christian community won’t communicate in our culture. Thus “we must adopt and deploy new language as we seek to introduce the gospel anew in our world.”

Here are 4 cultural narratives that we think millennials get:

Presence is a Gift

Millennials have been raised with distractions. So they implicitly get that you can be with a person and not be present or in the moment. Therefore it is culturally known that to be fully present is a rare gift to give to a person. When we communicate the significance of the eucharist or communion one of the cultural narratives that connect is the gift of Jesus being present.

Brokenness is Systemic

Often times sin is talked about within categories of ethics, what we’re called to do or prohibited from doing. However, millennials have been raised during a period where global institutions have failed. They’ve seen first hand the effects of broken systems causing financial, relational and violent tragedies in their life and neighborhood. Though sin may not connect as a list of do’s and don’t’s, it will resonate as the reality of brokenness that is present throughout all of our world.

Authentic Hope is Rare

Some millennials have only known a post-911 world. Others walked back from college classes to see the future world of fear frozen on the TV. All of the millennial generation live with the assumption that terrorism is a norm and a general fear of neighbor is healthy. In the midst of this, authentic hope is pure beauty to millennials. They know that it is rare and they imagine that it is in short supply. Despite how optimistic they are at their own future, they know that hope for a better world is a rarity. Thus when we present the gospel, leading with hope connects.

Passion is King

Millennials would much rather work a job that pays less but connects with their passion. The real gift of communicating the passion of God shown to us in the length Jesus went to can not be understated. Connecting God’s passion to their passion is one of the greatest opportunities for the church to communicate the gospel. But much more than that, millennials are searching for a passionate church. For more on this cultural narrative check out this book by Kenda Dean.

What are other cultural narratives that connect with millennials?

Millennial LifeBurlapComment