7 Keys to Reaching Young Families

Most churches and pastors I know want to reach young families. But how is that done? Here are 7 keys to help your church reach young families.

1- Pursue Quality and Professionalism

The average young family is accustomed to quality everywhere they go. It is a part of their world. They go to doctors who are professional and have a high standard of quality. They take their kids to daycares and schools where quality and professionalism is expected. They do business with companies who are characterized in this way.

It is no wonder that they have come to expect churches to meet this same standard – and they should. Churches who care about reaching young families cannot settle for low quality in facilities or ministries.

2- Engage Them Online

This is nothing new, but churches who ignore their websites, social media, and other online avenues of engagement are missing a wonderful opportunity to connect with young families. This may take some effort and an organized strategy, but it is worth the effort.

3- Prioritize Children’s Ministry

Young families will probably have young children. A church that minimizes the importance of children’s ministries and facilities for children are subtly communicating that they really don’t care about reaching young families. Having a quality nursery and quality nursery workers is essential. If you desire to reach young families, ministries to children must be a priority.

4- Get Involved in the Community

Young families are not interested in simply coming and sitting in a pew each week. They want to be part of a church that goes out into the community and is concerned with making a difference. If a church simply goes through the motions of church, refusing to get involved in the community, they will not be a place young families will want to land.

5- Understand the Challenges They Face, Then Adjust When Possible

Young families face challenges, as do all people in all age groups. In an attempt to reach young families, be considerate of the challenges they face. For instance, if your church wants to see an increased involvement of young families in a particular ministry of the church, it would not be wise to have the ministry start late in the evening. Why? Young families are focused on getting their kids ready for school and in bed at a decent hour.

Adjustment may not always be possible, but when it is, making those adjustments communicates that you care about the challenges young families are facing.

6- Put Them in Positions of Leadership

Young adults have insights that are valuable and helpful. Failing to put them in positions of leadership communicates that you really don’t think they have much to offer.

Perhaps you have offered positions of leadership to them and they have declined. The next point may be why.

7- Focus More on Doing and Less on Meeting

Young adults are not interested in sitting in committee meetings discussing ministry. To them that is an unnecessary waste of time. They are willing to serve, but they are not interested in going through hours of meetings about serving.

Meet less and serve more and you will see the involvement of young families increase.

These are just a few ways that churches can intentionally reach out to young families. Do you agree? What are some other thoughts you have? Please comment below.

9 Things Christian Millennials Want In A Church

I have been informally studying the millennial generation for quite a while. I have read many articles by many authors such as Thom Rainer on Millennials and worship styles  and  Meredith Flynn on her perspective of Capitol Hill Baptist Church—a church that averages over 1,000 in weekly attendance with 700-800 of those being under the age of 35-40.

I have had dozens of conversations with those in this age bracket about what is important to them as well as read many books on the topic. I am certainly no expert, but I feel confident in sharing my thoughts on what committed Christian Millennials want in a church.

I am going to assume that we agree that the church worship service is for Christians, not a tool to attract the lost. Good! Now that we have that settled, we can focus our attention on the millennial generation—those born between 1980 and the early 2000’s.

There are a lot of misconceptions about what Christian Millennials want in a church. Some (mostly the older generations) think this age group is just interested in hanging out. Others think this age group is shallow, wishy-washy, and ungrounded. For the record, these caricatures are generally untrue.

So what does resonate with committed Christian Millennials?

1- Genuineness

Many Millennials grew up witnessing the lack of genuineness that was prevalent in their parents’ churches. They want to see leaders live what they teach. They are tired of seeing people simply go through the motions.

2- Less Extra Stuff

Productions such as Easter plays and choral productions that were so common a generation ago are being abandoned. The quality usually isn’t that great, it requires a ton of time that simply isn’t there, and they are focused on entertainment – and that simply isn’t a draw to many Millennials. Likewise, special music such as solos, quartets, and the like are not much of a focus either. Even choirs are becoming less common, and the ones that still remain are usually filled with those in older age brackets.

3- Rich Content…..in the Sermons and in Songs

Sermons filled with fluff and music with no meaning won’t cut it. That rich content may come in different forms depending on the context. The music styles may vary, and the Millennials are okay with that—they are not tied to any one style as long as there is rich content.

4. Quality in All Things

Simply throwing things together at the last minute won’t cut it. People are used to professionalism in all things…at the daycare where they leave their children, at their work place, everywhere. If the church lacks quality it will be a turnoff to those in this generation.

5. Authentic Community

Millennials do want to hang out, but there’s more to it than that. They want authentic community. They want to do life with other believers. They want the Christian life to be more than attendance at a church service. This is the reason they thrive in small groups.

6. Intentionality in Decision-Making

Doing something solely because it has always been done serves as Millennial repellant. If a church will not ensure that everything they are doing is accomplishing a designated purpose, then what’s the point?

7. A Community Focus

The Millennials want to make a difference in the community. They view this as an important part of the Church’s work. They want more than to simply hold events on the church’s property; they want the church to get out into the community.

8. A Church that Answers Their Questions

For far too long Millennials were simply told what to believe, but not why. As a result, many of them have questions, and they will not attend a church where they are discouraged from asking questions or where they do not get honest, accurate, thoughtful answers.

9. Committed to Simplicity

People are busier than ever. This reality cannot be avoided. In an attempt to be appealing to a consumer generation the church has tried to offer a plethora of programs at a plethora of times in an effort to be appealing to everyone. It hasn’t worked. In fact, the complexities of a program-driven church drives people away. The Millennials are looking for simplicity. They want to be committed to a church that understands this.

Do these characteristics define every Christian millennial? Absolutely not. But they do characterize many of them…at least many of the committed Christian millennials I know. If churches are going to reach the millennial generation, they must be aware of these realities.