Helping Millennials Make a Difference


If you want to connect with Millennials, help them to see how they can make a difference in the world.

How does your church “make a difference”? And how do you invite emerging generations to join in the effort, to help, and to understand how their work yields “good fruit” over time?

Further, how does your congregation help Millennials and Gen Zers have confidence that their new ideas will be heard, receive support, and perhaps become part of your congregation’s overall approach to making a kingdom-difference in the world?

Back in 2015, Adam Smiley Poswolsky wrote this for Fast Company:

From my interviews with numerous Millennial entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and leaders with both for-profit, social enterprise, and nonprofit backgrounds, a similar pattern to this data emerges. Millennials want to work with purpose, and they want their workplace to be aligned with their values.

Poswolsky reported, “More than 50% of Millennials say they would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values, while 90% want to use their skills for good.” Survey data in his report found most Millennials believed their places of employment focused on themselves rather than the greater good and underutilized their talents.

Based on my conversations with young adults, these notions still hold true, not only in the workplace, but in the church. Millennials know that their lives count, and they want them to count for good. But they have often felt the church doesn’t invite them to participate in missional efforts with intentionality. If they are serving, it is because they have stumbled into a particular niche. Or, they were recruited as a warm body to staff an area of ministry without being told why the work they are doing matters.

How can the church do a more effective job of helping Millennials see how they can help us fulfill our calling? Here are several ways your church can help Millennials make a difference:

  • Teach them how to responsibly care for the poor in your community.

  • Show them why we should care for the widow, orphan, and stranger.

  • Connect them to organizations that are caring for those in prison.

  • Help them to discern and articulate their purpose and calling as followers of Christ.

  • Encourage them to read and understand Matthew 25:31-46 and to begin becoming the kind of people who serve the needy as though they are serving Christ.

  • Take young people along for visits to the homebound or hospitalized and show them how to care for the sick and infirm.

  • Teach them to be generous, financially and otherwise.

  • Teach them to love and serve children and youth in the name of Christ.

  • Be open with them about racial concerns, injustice, and how to work for peace.

  • Equip them to be evangelists and help them know how to effectively share their faith.

  • Show Millennials how to disciple others so that they can fulfill the great commission.

  • Demonstrate the meaning of hospitality and help them to see how creating a welcoming space in the world can change lives.

  • Give them the tools and encouragement they need to grow in holiness.

For each of these ideas, show them how the Scriptures teach these lessons. Help them connect the Bible to daily life. Emerging adults want to see how these actions can help your congregation fulfill your God-given mission.

Millennials want to make a difference, and you should want them to as well. Help them to do so in order that they might live in a way that is pleasing to God and that makes a real, tangible difference in our world.

Ben SimpsonComment