Parents Are Key to Reaching and Engaging Millennials

A few months ago we asked millennials, “Who in your life most closely represents Jesus to you and those around you?”  The largest portion--47%--said their parents most closely resemble Jesus to them, followed by friends (22%), professional clergy (18%) and a mentor (13%).

Who would you guess most longs for millennials to engage with a faith community, maybe even more than you and me? You guessed it, parents of millennials. Who is living with or staying with their parents in their parents’ homes more often and for longer period of times than previous generations? Millennials, of course.

So does it go without saying, then, that if parents are the number one place where millennials see Jesus, so to speak, and many millennials see them a lot, that parents might have more influence in inviting millennials to participate in our faith communities? (Asking for a friend.)

Perhaps it would be worth your time to work with parents to invite millennials to engage. Maybe the solution to your problem of an aging church in decline (I know that is not all churches, but probably most) is to cast a vision of growth, vibrancy, and partnership with the parents of the millennials in your church. How can you do this effectively?  For starters, ask them. Invite them to help you. Cast a vision for the future church leadership to come from their kids. Cast a vision for the reversing of the trend of decline and equip parents with the tools to best understand millennials and their unique attributes. Smash the negative stereotypes that the parents of millennials are reading online, and hearing from their friends in Sunday School class, and in its place tell a narrative of optimism and hope.

As churches, we spend a lot of time in conversations about reaching and engaging millennials. What if one answer to that is right in front of us--taking advantage of the relationship between parent and child and sharing a vision of invitation and participation?