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Why I Really, Really, Really Like Millennials

September 14, 2017

We do an effective job at reaching Millennials at Christ Church.  We don’t do as effective a job as the churches designed to do nothing but reach Millennials but we do pretty well.  We are committed to being a multi-generational and racially diverse congregation and we are finding that many Millennials like that just fine.  In fact, much of our growth over the past handful of years has consisted of young adults.

Here are six trends I see in the Millennials who attend Christ Church:

  1. They generally like to worship at times other than Sunday morning If your church only offers worship on Sunday mornings, you are missing their preferred worship times.
  2. They are very comfortable in diverse worship settings They really don’t care much about being entertained, they wish to be encountered and style doesn’t really matter.
  3. They hang out with each other both in an out of church They model Christian community and are wonderfully adept at including others into their group.
  4. They respond best “peer to peer” We have Millennials lead small groups for Millennials. They would rather have a peer than an expert in this context.
  5. They accept and excel in leadership positions Our fastest growing service last year is a Wednesday night service that is completely led by Millennials. These young leaders are responsible, committed and gifted.  What do we have for the older people?  Me, of course.
  6. They are eager to be “mentored” Young people value the wisdom and experience of older people who have successfully navigated their lives.

I like our Millennials so much that I am “betting” our future on them.  Here are some things I see that truly impress and inspire me:

Impressive Millennial Tendencies

  1. They know there is more to life than just money This does not mean they don’t want to make some money, they do and many are. It just means they know there is more to life than the relentless pursuit of the dollar.
  2. They value family Many young adults like going to the same church as their parents and grandparents. And even if they live away from home, they like parent and grandparent figures.  Since many are from broken families, they see the church more as a family, than a collection of families.
  3. They are generous (and planning to be generous) We have older Millennials emerging as some of our very solid givers. Many are tithers and they will give more as they make more.  They truly believe a part of being blessed is being a blessing to others.
  4. They need compelling reasons for “buy-in” Having to explain why a church is doing what it is going is actually a good thing.
  5. They are worshippers Many of our Millennials flat out love Jesus. They don’t want to just sing and especially don’t want to be sung to; they want to worship!
  6. They are talented I often know what we need to do to move the mission forward but I sometimes don’t know how to do it. Millennials do.
  7. They are team oriented Top-down leaders will be frustrated with the young people of today but if you want to build a team, you are really going to like them!
  8. They “get” the culture Reverse mentoring is essential for leaders over forty.
  9. They are tech savvy Technology is the air Millennials breathe. They are unaware it even exists.
  10. They seek Biblical truth This is the best part of all! They are looking for substance and not fluff.  Teach the word.  Preach the word.  Make clear what the Biblical author is saying and let them talk about how it plays out in their lives.

Did I mention I really, really, really like Millennials?

-Rev. Shane L. Bishop, A Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church, has been the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois since 1997

Shane 2017 Glasses

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