Lately there’s been a lot of buzz on the topic of millennials and the church. How do we reach them? What are they passionate about? And perhaps this loaded question: Why aren’t millennials serving in our churches?
With the baby boomers getting older, churches are looking for the next generation of leaders and volunteers to step up. This is where millennials, or individuals born between 1980 - 2000, come in. Churches are ready for millennials to take on leadership roles as deacons, Sunday school teachers, and more. But is this happening? And if not, why?
As a millennial myself, I think the answer is complicated. A few years back I was looking to volunteer and to be honest, my first instinct was not to start with my church. Instead I talked to friends and googled organizations with needs that matched my interests. I ended up spending Monday nights at a local homeless shelter, baking cookies and playing bingo. Meanwhile, I was not serving my church in any capacity.
So how come I didn’t start at my church?
For one, I was new to the church and not well connected (no fault of the church). On top of that, the church did not frequently share ways to get involved (I could have emailed someone). Finally, I didn’t have any friends that were currently involved in church ministry. I think these simple reasons (more like excuses) led me to decide it was just as easy to serve in the community and not at church.
As it turns out, my actions were similar to those of my peers. According to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report, 77% of millennials are more likely to volunteer if they could use their specific skill-set to benefit a cause. In addition, millennials are highly influenced by their peers, almost half said they are more likely to volunteer if asked by a friend.
So. . . where does this leave churches? Have you found it helpful to have millennials recruit their friends? Or can churches emphasis how various skills are needed in roles (i.e. accountants make great deacons, people who like to cook are great on the hospitality team, etc.)? Is the problem not with churches?
I’d love to hear the story of what is happening at your church!