Many churches in America have aging congregations, and a constant prayer in all of them is that they might connect with young families at church. A primary response to this need is for churches to upgrade their children’s programs and make certain their nurseries are spotless, attractive, and well-staffed. Though facilities responses are essential, communication responses are also important if your church wants to have a family come back more than once.
Connect With Young Families at Church
You’ve got to speak the same language as younger people. Imagine if you were invited to a party by a close friend. The friend tells you that the people are great and you’ll have a fantastic time. You approach the party with excitement — but when you open the door, you discover that the party guests are all speaking the language of their native country and English isn’t allowed. They are all English speakers, but they prefer to not speak it at their parties. They smile and are very nice. They offer you food; they have a game room for your kids; but when you try to talk to them, they shake their head and say your language isn’t allowed. You will probably leave as quickly as you can and decide you never want to associate with that group again.
The language of many young people today is technology and if you don’t speak that language, they will feel about as welcome as the guest in the story above. Attitude is one of the most important things in learning to speak the language of technology. You may not know how to do the things that are suggested below, but admitting that your church is working on these areas and perhaps even asking for help to implement them, will go a long way to connect with young families at church.
None of the comments that follow should be taken as a recommendation that you do away with any of your current means of church communications. You still need printed Bibles, email, phone calls, postcards, and whatever else the people in your church use for communications. The challenge today is that we can’t do away with past means of communication, but we continuously need to add new ones if you want to connect with young families at church.
1. Use of cell phones and tablets in church and adult education classes.
This seems so basic, but I still see church bulletins that tell people not to use their phone even to read their Bibles in church! One church went so far as to give a mini-lecture in print on how irreverent it was to read the Bible on your phone and how distracting it was to those around you. I don’t imagine many who were used to reading the Bible on their phones came back a second time to that church.
In contrast, at another church when it’s morning time to read the Scripture for the morning, the Pastor invites people to follow along, “either on the screen in front, your printed Bible, or whatever electronic device you enjoy using.”
It isn’t surprising that this church is able to attract young families to church, has recently been running announcements in the bulletin asking for volunteers in the ever-growing children’s programs.
2. Be sure your website is responsive and constantly updated
A responsive website is one that can be easily accessed on a smartphone. A responsive website resizes so that text can easily be read on the smaller screen. A website that isn’t responsive can be accessed with a smartphone, but it’s hard to read and extremely difficult to find anything on it. For people who use their smartphones to look up every part of their lives, if your church makes that impossible, they won’t bother to go to a desktop computer or call the church office. If you really want to attract young families to church making a church website responsive can be as simple as changing the underlying template for the site if your site is built using WordPress.