Discerning Vocation with Millennials

Millennials, like any generation, desire a sense of value that transcends what they do and highlights exactly who they are. For millennials, work needs to have a sense of purpose. Just over 70% said that it is important or very important to have a job with meaning.  And Barna’s research showed several gaps between millennials that stayed and those who left the church in regards to vocation. They found:

  • God’s Calling - “Millennials who have remained active are three times more likely than dropouts to say they learned to view their gifts and passions as part of God’s calling (45% versus 17%)”
  • Bible and Vocation - “They are four times more likely to have learned at church “how the Bible applies to my field or career interests” (29% versus 7%)” 
  • Educational Guidance - “A similar gap exists when it came to receiving helpful input from a pastor about education (21% versus 5%)”

Barna concludes that a church's work of practicing vocational discernment with millennials is one of the keys to them sticking with the church and integrating faith and life. 

If we know that vocational discernment is important to millennials who are a part of the church, then the question must be, “How can churches practice discerning vocation in order to reach millennials?”

Here are 3 ways that we’ve discovered talking with and surveying millennials:

  1. Mentoring - Evan Palmer talked at length about the value of mentoring with millennials on the Burlap Podcast. One of the things that were identified is mentoring in connection with work as being of great value. This is of such great value that most millennials will seek it out. So churches have an open opportunity to provide these kind of mentoring connections.
  2. Sacredness of Work - Millennials want to know that their work means something. The church that teaches and values the sacredness of multiple vocations will capture the imagination of millennials. Showing how carpentry, social media and teaching add to God’s mission in the world will inspire millennials.
  3. Flexibility - Churches that empower millennials to engage in their vocation will be flexible with how they invite them into discipleship. That means creating unique meeting times, seasonal small groups, or alternate worship options in order to support the changing work patterns of millennials. This type of flexibility shows how the church values the various callings of millennials and invites them to enter into discipleship which empowers their vocation.

What are some other ways that you’ve found to discern vocation with millennials?