Church Leaders: Stop Fretting and Start Engaging

A few months ago we asked 100 Christian millennials what was the most effective way for them to grow in their faith. Nearly 40% said that their number one way to grow in their faith was through a small group, followed by just over 25% stating mission work, and 17% indicating through a mentor.

After sharing some of the research at a local training workshop in Kansas City, one local pastor approached me and said, “That is great news because we only have enough young adults in our church to form a small group.”

When our Burlap team is out and about listening to church leaders we consistently hear grumblings about the number of millennials in the leaders’ churches. I get it; we all would love more people--of any generational mindset--to attend our churches, but particularly young adults who can help grow the faith community. Keep in mind, in my experience listening to pastors and church leaders, I often hear from leaders who are so worried about the small number of millennials in their churches that they spend all of their time pondering and deliberating on reaching more. This results in leaving the millennials they do have un-engaged and distant.

Instead of fretting so much about how small is the number of millennials in your church, spend your time deeply engaging the millennials you do have. Based on the data above, you would likely be wise to engage them in the following three key areas:

  • small groups
  • mission work
  • opportunities for mentoring.

Here is a simple 5-step plan for engaging the millennials in your church.

Step 1:  Approach one or two of the millennials and ask them if they would be willing to lead a small group.

Step 2: Provide communication opportunities on the new leaders' behalf so that they can get the word out about the newly formed group.

Step 3: Suggest mission work in which the new group may participate. It works best, BTW, if the work is aligned with what the church is already participating in.

Step 4: Provide mentoring for the small group as needed. You (or other leaders in your church) don’t have time to give toward mentoring this small group?  What does that say about your church’s priorities?  

Step 5: Consistently check in with the group leaders and give them the support they need to reach out beyond their small group.

Don’t be so worried about the number of millennials in your church that you forget to lead the ones you have. Stop fretting and start engaging.