As ministry leaders and Small Group Point People, we have all read the reports and articles of those a part of the millennial generation that are disconnecting form the church. Your church may be experiencing this in one or many ways. In our church we have a good level of attendance from the younger demographic and truly see many millennials serve, but we have seen the small group connection fluctuate greatly year to year. We want to help settle those numbers and see growth, especially since our city is home to a number of organizations that specialize in hiring those new to the work force. Here are four steps we are taking currently and in the coming months to better engage those of the millennial generation.
ESTABLISH GROUPS WITH A CAUSE
Each generation has a different theme or character trait that defines them and this generation is all about connecting with organizations that have a special meaning. We, the church, have the most meaningful! Millennials are more likely to stay with your church and their small group when there is a cause that gives their involvement meaning. This cause may be deep in a study, weaved within special relationships or out in the community serving alongside local nonprofit organizations. Whatever your method, lead your millennials with a cause!
GIVE CLEAR NEXT STEPS
This is growth within and outside of Small Groups, but be obvious with how each step will unfold. Millennials are not consumed with paychecks or status, as much as they are concerned with investing their time and resources properly. They want to know that they are developing in all facets of life, whether it is spiritually, relationally, professionally, etc. They are going to view their involvement and personal fulfillment with your church with a different perspective than maybe someone from a previous generation. Giving clear steps in growth help them envision their purpose and ensure that your relationship stays intact while their leadership qualities stay in house.
COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES
With each generation the church has adapted the method in which they share the message of the gospel. With Small Groups, I’d say be open to doing the same. If your groups tend to look one way but millennials are not engaged at the same rate, look to see what else may work. We are looking to launch a different looking group, with larger capacity and an advertisement of “anyone who wants to show up, be at this location” in the upcoming semester. This is because we have had trouble connecting a good percentage of our young adults and especially the men. Dare to be different in order to attract those that are wired differently.
BE CREATIVE AND COLLABORATE!
Millennials love to create and truly enjoy being a part of the process. Find places to include and recognize them for their innovation. Is there an event or area of Small Groups that could use an injection of energy? Is there a way to branch outside of your current niche groups to include a new idea of how groups can function and include multiple group ideas? There are many questions we ask each year to grow the impact of the church and there isn’t a better way to answer them than asking those we look to include. We can grow our millennial involvement by actively involving millennials in the creative process of Small Groups.
I hope these are helpful steps for you as a Small Group Point Person. Be intentional about looking to churches that are successful in their groups and especially those churches that are exploding in growth with young adults. This is a group of people that don’t need much but they crave authenticity and purpose. Remember, we, the church, have the greatest purpose of all!