Millennials, people born between 1981 to 1996, now make up a large percentage of the UK population, yet are notoriously difficult to bring into the church environment.
With a large disposable income and a significant amount of free time, young adults can bring life and energy into a church environment and provide fresh ideas on how to outreach to the wider community. But encouraging them into the church, to begin with, can be the biggest hurdle.
To help you approach a younger audience we’ve listed some unique ways you can increase church participation from millennials.
Younger adults may not have had experience of a church outside of religious studies at school, so it’s important that you open their eyes to what the church can offer beyond their perceptions.
The first thing you need to do is understand your audience. What are their needs and demands from life?
Once you know this you can begin to schedule events at the church that bring them in without it being a religious focus. For example, could you host a careers fair, a networking event, or support a local social group by providing the church as a venue?
Workshops on topics that they are passionate about can be particularly helpful, as this will attract new people to the church and make them realise that the church goes beyond being just a Sunday service. For example, managing money workshops or cooking classes.
There are many events and workshops your church can host to encourage people into the church space.
Be Digitally Active
Millennials are digitally savvy, so if you’re not making your presence known on social media you’re missing out on being in front of a younger audience.
From posting regularly on social media to ensuring your website is functional and mobile-friendly, you need to ensure that the churches digital presence is strong and encouraging to young adults.
This is also a key time to look at the kind of content you’re posting on social media. Are you just posting church updates and bible scripts or are you putting out messages that the young adults can relate to?
Really be considerate of the messages and images that you are sharing and think about if this would appeal to the young adults you are trying to attract through the door.
Remember that any images or messages that push towards too much of a ‘traditional’ church message may discourage a younger audience.
Go To Their Spaces
If you don’t think you can get young adults through your church door, go to them.
Doing talks and workshops in other environments will allow people to get to know you as a pastor and allow them to see a different side of what they perceive of the church.
This is especially important if you want to breakdown stigma and stereotypes that they have around religion.
Whether you do a talk at a networking event or attend a local social group, visit them in the spaces they most often occupy and use it as a chance to get to know the younger community and understand how the church can support them in their lives.
Millennials are a purpose-driven generation who want to make the world a better place. While they may be young, they are extremely conscious of their impact on the world and consistently seeking something meaningful in their lives.
This is where the church can provide them with this purpose and give them an opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Promoting your volunteering opportunities is an ideal way to build awareness of the church to young adults. No matter the task, from mentoring teenagers, cleaning up the community to being part of the homeless soup kitchen. Really promote the volunteering opportunities you have available.
Start A Social Group
Building a community is a wonderful way to encourage existing young adults to bring along their friends to the church.
Start a social group at the church, but leave the topic of the evening as an open discussion so that is doesn’t alienate people who have never been around religious topics before.
When you allow people to come together a natural community is built and it becomes a far more organic process than if you are actively trying to push people into the church environment.
Provide refreshments and have a talk so that new people have something to take away from the evening.
As younger adults lives are often dominated by digital communication, building a physical community where people can come together to talk and build friendships is a wonderful way of doing something positive for young people and making them realise the support of the church.
Ensure your church space has the flexibility of doing such events and making them less formal than a traditional church service. Grosvenor’s church stacking chairs can be moved around easily so you can lay them out in a more casual style.