Four Keys to Engaging Millennials God’s Kingdom Vision

Focusing on a survey about obtaining the “American Dream,” millennials are described as optimistic and confident while concurrently seeking security in a world full of never-ending crises.

Where there is no room or discussion of God or faith, it is easy to point fingers at this self-centered mindset and label it as selfish and shallow, seeking meaningless experiences and treasures that won’t last. 

Upon further reflection, we see a large portion of the population looking for a “why” greater than themselves. In most cases, when the imagination is engaged and ignited, the heart will follow. 

“America is the best Babylon on the face of the earth, but it is still Babylon,” says storyteller and author Tony Campolo. The mission of the church is to spread the good news of the kingdom of God, being a people who together live out the love of Jesus through the power of the Spirit for the good of the world every single day. 

To invite Millennials to seek first God’s Great dream (Matt. 6.33) instead of the American Dream, which is steep with empire, the church needs to communicate our security in Christ in an ever-changing world through a lens of hope, not fear. Security, as you know, is not genuinely found in bank statements or retirement accounts – not even to a generation struggling to pay off school loans. Our security is grounded in the One who walks with us through the struggles and uncertainties of the daily grind.

Think about the courageous lives of the first followers of Jesus after the resurrection. Their security was not found in creature comforts but in proclaiming the radical good news of the coming kingdom for all people. Their security was found in their relationship with Christ and the hope that, no matter how bad things appeared, he was always with them. 

The American Dream and God’s Kingdom clash on many levels.

  1. The American Dream is centered on making the individual happy. God’s kingdom focuses on the good of all creation.
  2. The American Dream teaches financial prosperity for our security. In God’s kingdom, we are taught to give to our neighbors and trust that God will provide.
  3. The American Dream is highly competitive, pitting neighbor against neighbor, in a dog-eat-dog environment. God’s kingdom is a cooperative endeavor, where neighbors learn to love one another across all boundaries.
  4. The American Dream is about comfort in all things. In God’s kingdom, suffering and persecution are expected travel companions on the Way of Jesus.

In what ways can your church challenge the self-centered narrative of the American Dream with the meta-narrative of God’s kingdom dream for all people? Here are some ideas…

  1. Serve your community.Where is there need in your community? How can your church work together with businesses and non-profits to meet the needs of others and make new friends through service?
  2. Give globally. How is your church giving to help neighbors around the world with food, shelter, water, and disease? Is security found in our financial reserves or trusting in the God who called us to share life together?
  3. Encourage cooperation before competition. There is no good competition between churches, period. Finding ways to cooperate with other churches for the good of your community is an excellent way to live out God’s kingdom.
  4. Don’t be afraid. Millennials are full of hope, and the church is the place where the message of hope, where all things are being made new, should always ring out loud and clear.

The church needs to be creative in finding ways to share stories and engage new friends in the community with the vision of God’s Great Dream. When the church quits dreaming, we forget Whose Story we’re called to live.