“I want church to be relevant.” This was my reaction after reading What Do Millennials Want When They Visit Church.
The article in itself covered a mountain of information taken from a survey conducted in 2013. It uncovered millennials perceptions about church, how much contact information they will and won’t give a church, as well as why some still consider church attendance important. It’s an incredibly thorough and revealing article that’s worth the read. I will focus on only a small section of that report.
The highlight to me was this graphic:
More specifically, the Coral-to-Flamingo range of percentage bubbles on the left.
“I find God elsewhere; It’s not relevant to me; Church is boring; It feels like God is missing from church.” These sentiments are shared by almost one out of every three millennials and what’s most heartbreaking to me is that this could be avoided.
Millennials are also post-moderns, so they are pretty skeptical of essentially everything. As a church, we could be better at speaking for ourselves instead of letting Him speak for Himself. Millennials want to belong to an honest community. The best thing that ever happened to me was discovering that church people aren’t perfect. Even the biblical heroes had their warts. Being relatable will build more bridges than simply being knowledgeable and it’s from this platform that open discussions can begin to take place.
I’ve been to churches that felt like they were just performances for no one in particular. SUPER irrelevant. There are plenty of articles billing millennials as a challenged group that is highly educated but with little to no practical skills.
How cool would it be if church membership and regular involvement could also produce real world job skills? Could the church train and equip its young members in doctrine and in something marketable such as problem-solving, corporate leadership, or numeracy? Or how about a church that regularly gives paid internships to university students in needed fields such as education, law, social work, marketing, psychology or business?
This kind of intentional relevance could be revolutionary in the truest sense. The church could once again spark a global Renaissance!
(While I’m on the topic of being intentional, could we please have more for young people to do besides A/V duty, junior deacons and praise team? We need some sort of apprenticing to happen inside and outside of the church building. I mean, I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure there’s a way to assess a person’s personality and interests in order to present them options that are compatible to their specific strengths.)
Above all, God’s church must remain united. When I see a church divided by gossip, bickering, or just by purposeless nonsense, its been easy for me to say, “This isn’t relevant to me and it feels like God is missing from this church.”
What do you think? How can our church be more relevant to the lives of millennials?