Why Millennial Parents Are Exiting the Church

Why Millennial Parents Are Exiting the Church
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If you’re trying to reach young families with children, then the demographic you’re trying to connect with are the Millennials.

Look closely at the average church and you won’t find an abundance of Millennials. The nursery is quiet due to lack of parents bringing their children. The preschool area, that should be full, has a shrinking attendance.

Look around during worship and you’ll see a lot more gray hair than you do young couples.

Why is this? Obviously, it’s because more and more Millennials are leaving the church. Which leads to the bigger question. Why are Millennial parents exiting the church?

Studies show that church attendance among 22- to 35-year-olds is the lowest in recent history. Look at these sobering stats:

  • Only 2 in 10 people under 30 believe attending a church is important or worthwhile (an all-time low).
  • 59 percent of Millennials raised in the church have dropped out.
  • 35 percent of Millennials have an anti-church stance, believing the church does more harm than good.
  • Millennials are the least likely age group of anyone to attend church.

Why is this happening? Let’s address some of the big reasons Millennials are leaving the church.

We aren’t including them in planning the future of the churchMillennials want the opportunity to speak into the direction, strategies and vision of the church. They highly value this and refuse to be a part of a church that ignores their input.

If we are going to see Millennial parents become part of and help lead the future church, then we must give them a voice in planning that future.

Practical steps to take:

  • Give them a seat at your church’s leadership table.
  • Host focus groups for Millennial parents. Listen to their feedback and ideas.
  • Have special events and classes that are geared for young couples.

We’re talking it, but not walking it. We talk about changing the world, but we don’t get involved in things that can change the world. Millennial parents want to change the world. They are drawn to churches that are focused on changing the world. They also want their kids involved in this. A cool mission statement that talks about changing the world, but does very little about it, turns Millennials off.

Practical steps to take:

  • Provide Millennials with opportunities to make a difference.
  • Show Millennials how their involvement is making a difference.

We’re not getting outside the four walls. If we want Millennial parents to come inside the four walls, then we must first give them opportunities to get outside the walls. Occasionally taking up an offering for kids in a needy country is not enough. They want to go visit the child and help him/her in person.

Practical steps to take:

  • Help supplement and sponsor young Millennials to go on mission trips.
  • Share stories of young adults who went on a mission trip and the fruit that’s resulted from it.

Church politics. If you look behind the curtain, you will see most churches have politics going on. Power struggles over decisions. Arguing over petty things like the color of the carpet. Starting “new churches” due to church splits. A few families, that have been at the church for generations, controlling the church and turning it into a country club where only people like them are accepted.

Millennials can see right through the curtain. They see the politics, power struggles and lack of unity, and they want no part of it.

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Dale Hudson
Dale Hudson has been serving in children's ministry for over 28 years. He is an author, speaker and ministry leader.  He is the founder and director of Building Children's Ministry. BCM helps churches build strong leaders, teams and children's ministries.  (www.buildingchildrensministry.com)

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