Helping Millennials Parent In the Digital Age
When is the last time your church preached a sermon or a series of sermons on parenting?
It was fall of last year for my congregation.
Parenting is a popular “felt-needs” topic for preachers, most often directed toward young families who are already part of the congregation or perhaps as an outreach for friends and neighbors in the community who are seeking wisdom on raising kids. I’ve been in several congregations that have planned a parenting series after a major holiday or at the beginning of the fall or spring school semesters in an effort to get people engaged.
But if you’re looking for an avenue to connect with Millennials in your community that reaches beyond the traditional sermon, you may want to consider online media as a way to pass on wisdom, insight, and practical advice to emerging generations.
Why? Because while Millennials are leaving the pews, they are seeking parenting tips online. Go where they are.
Today, 71% of Millennials value the advice and insights they receive from parenting blogs, parenting websites, forums, and social networks.
In fact, they aren’t just looking to social media for occasional insights either. Over a third of moms and half of dads state that they use social media daily for help in parenting. More than 90% found online sources to be very helpful.
There are many different ways to compose and deliver a sermon. Sermons often include Bible exposition, contemporary illustrations, personal stories, congregational examples, statistics, and anecdotes. These different elements are often woven into an twenty to thirty minute discourse. It would be entirely possible to take the material that is put into a sermon and repurpose bits and pieces for blog entries, social media postings, or short audio and podcast materials that could be distributed online via a church website or through social media. Once this information is placed online it becomes searchable, shareable, and widely available. And if you consider the needs of your congregants, it also becomes something they can reference when speaking with their friends about the challenges of parenting. If your congregants know it is online, they can search for articles and insights and text or email that information to their friends.
The ministry of your church goes far beyond delivering sermons. The wisdom offered within the context of worship can have a broader reach through the use of digital media. Sure, you can post your sermons online. That’s one way to do it. But another, more effective way is to take the meal of the sermon and break it down into small bites that are both easier to share and to digest.
Millennials are seeking help on parenting. They want to raise children who are well adjusted, wise, ethical, intelligent, and kind. As Christians, we can offer wisdom, help, encouragement and support, all while operating from the deep conviction that the most reliable and unsurpassable source of life and flourishing for both parents and children is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. By sharing Christian knowledge and wisdom on parenting there is an opportunity to point all people to Christ, those who are part of the congregation, and those are not.
John Wesley was considered an innovator because he preached in the fields. He went where people were, and addressed questions they were already asking. Perhaps it’s not a bad idea for us to do the same.