What millennial parents expect from your church

by Cheryl Markland, Childhood Evangelism and Discipleship
Monday, April 9, 2018 | 194 days old

Josh and Jennifer arrive at your church with their two preschoolers in tow. Arriving at the preschool check-in desk, Josh and Jennifer hope to be greeted by warm smiles, a safe, secure, clean and updated preschool area, and offers to help them find their way to the sanctuary. Josh and Jennifer are millennial parents.

Millennials are young adults, ages 23-36, who are often perceived in a negative light but have much to offer churches if churches will take the time to understand who they are and what they think.

Millennials want to experience authentic community above all else. They want to know that their leaders understand their struggles because of the personal experience of the leaders.

Their desire for community works well in a small group discipleship model. Josh and Jennifer want to connect with other millennial parents, but they also make connections with adults from older generations who can mentor and advise them as they raise their children and navigate life in general.

Millennials relate better to “big ideas” than big institutions.

They desire authentic worship that focuses on Jesus.

Josh and Jennifer want to make a difference in the world and will seek out a church that intentionally reaches out to their community.

They have grown up with racial and cultural diversity, and they expect to see a mix of generations, races and lifestyles in the congregation.

Millennials seek purposeful involvement in ministry. Churches that are involved in local, national and international missions that directly impact others will grab their attentions and their hearts.

The church should be open for opportunities for millennials to serve in leadership at the church. Millennials want to be heard and come with fresh ideas that should not be discounted before careful consideration of how they can benefit the ministry of the church.

Josh and Jennifer’s focus is on their family, and they want to know that the church places a priority on their children through effective children’s ministry. Volunteers who have been background checked, trained to teach and disciple well, and are consistent in their commitment to serve will reinforce your church’s commitment to children’s ministry.

Environments that are clean, updated, uncluttered and child friendly are also attractive to millennial parents.

Millennials crave experience, which leads many to hesitate making long-term commitments for fear of missing out on a better opportunity.

Regular attendance among millennial families may mean attendance of no more than two to three times per month. It’s more critical than ever that churches be intentional in training parents to disciple their children at home and on the road using a Deuteronomy 6:4-9 model. Using electronic media is a great way to ensure parents have access to the Bible teaching whether at church or on the road.

Don’t be quick to discount the value of millennials to your church. Their energy and drive can add a new dimension of what is means to be the church. Be open to the change they bring and welcome them as family.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cheryl Markland serves as senior consultant for childhood evangelism and discipleship with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.