The Church as a 'Second Family'

In a recent info graphic, it was indicated that 71% of millennials desire their workplace to provide for them a ‘second family’ environment. I think it is imperative that we, as church pastors and leaders, at the very least ask the question, "In what ways can the church be a ‘second family’ for millennials?"  If 71% of millennials desire a ‘second family’ in their workplace then what does this mean for what they are looking for from a church?  How can the church create an environment where millennials sense and experience family? 

If a healthy family is characterized by essentials such as belonging, tradition, balance, responsibility toward the other, second chances, hope and healing, play, trust, etc. then what can the church (your church in particular) do to provide a ‘second family’ environment?

5 Keys to Creating a ‘Second Family’ Environment


  1. Cultivate a people where everyone belongs.  The day of the one-size-fits-all church is done.  What we really need is a place where the one-size-fits-one outlook permeates our pews and chairs.  When we look at our church we shouldn’t see multitudes of people we should see individuals.  This means that we must be intentional in creating a place where everyone not only feels welcome but also belongs.
  2. Cultivate a people where trust is foundational.  Millennials want to be trusted and want to trust others.  This is a fundamental desire for all humanity.  Millennials, no more or no less than other generational mindsets, want to know that reliability and deep dependence on one another can be counted on. 
  3. Cultivate a people where second chances are celebrated. So many pastors I talk to want there church to be known for its spiritual maturity.  I get that – that means people are growing. Part of growing is growing up or out of what keeps you from reaching new depths of maturity. Most often wisdom comes from learning the hard way.  I think it is key for millennials to see and celebrate the second chances God provides through his people of grace, mercy and forgiveness.  
  4. Cultivate a people where balance is held up as a positive asset.   Churches on the go are usually moving on so quickly to what’s next that they forget to slow down, pause and recover from their collective efforts.  I spoke to a pastor last week that was determined to drive one more major all church initiative through his congregation.  The initiative was noble but when I talked to the church council, they were exhausted.  They needed a break.  They believed that they needed to pause and find ways to renew the congregation before launching into another demanding campaign.  This reveals a lot of issues, I know.  However, for this article, pastors and leaders, you need to model what it means to cease working and pause in order to give God credit and your people time to renew their strength.  Millennials (most of them) are looking for a people that are driven with a massive cause but they are also looking for a people that they can rest with too.
  5. Cultivate a people where hope is one of the primary virtues.  There is a difference between optimism and hope, to the Christian.  Optimism is merely the outlook that things will be good or get better.  Hope, for the Christian, is the idea that we are convinced that God will accomplish God’s promises.  Resurrection isn’t a one-time event, it is a way of life.  Churches need to cultivate a people where hope marks the practices of the community.

Millennials want a ‘second family’ at work, according to the info graphic linked above.  What, then, can we anticipate they would like to sense and experience from church?