I hear frequently that it’s hard to get the younger generation to serve in the church. That may be true, especially under some of our current church structures. I don’t think it’s because they don’t want to serve, however. I think we may simply need to reconsider the circumstances under which they are willing to serve or the structure that works to attract them to serve.
After working with a younger age group in church planting and the more established churches, I’ve made some observations that appear true in both.
Here are seven ways to get young people to serve:
1. Don’t just talk about it, do it. They truly want to be active. They want to be doers of the word, not just hearers.
2. Reward progress, not people. Humble service is a valued character trait to the current younger generation. That’s why they love teams so much.
3. Think people impact, not project completion. They want to help others, make a difference in someone’s life and add value to the world around them.
4. Make meetings social events. Boring meetings won’t work anymore, but they’ll get together for pizza and organize a cause in the process.
5. Use teams more than committees. They tend to rebel against bureaucracy and embrace working together through fellowship.
6. Give ownership more than assignments. They want a seat at the table. They want to do something of importance now. They want to help shape their own future. Make them feel welcome.
7. Be inclusive, not exclusive. They aren’t looking for the country club environment as much as a collaboration of differences.
None of these mean we have to lessen our values to work with the younger generation, but our values should be biblical, and clearly identified. This newer generation is more tolerant. It’s not a buzzword for them, it’s in their DNA. The good news is they are more willing to work with others, even if they don’t completely agree with them. If they know people are being transparent with them and others, and are working to address a concern that they believe needs addressing, they are eager to serve.