on saturday i was speaking at the You Lost Me LIVE tour with my good friend David Kinnaman. he had asked me to speak previously at their Seattle event and then again to join them here, in Portland. if you haven’t read his book, You Lost Me, i would recommend doing so.
anyway, he asked me to speak about reaching Millenials in the church context. i shared 4 thoughts. here they are in summary:
1. View them as people, not a stat. this may seem obvious, but it’s sadly not as common as it needs to be. this generation is talked about (which means they are looked upon) as more of a demographic than human beings. i get how talking about a generation in general terms can be helpful and even necessary, but this balance needs to be watched very carefully. if you view them as a target to hit, you will surely miss.
2. Give them belonging. a sense of belonging only comes in/through the context of relationships. no sermon, no programming, music, black clothe or candles…none of this gives a sense of belonging to a person. people feel like they belong when they are relationally connected to people. period. to reach them there must be a relational focus of ministry. millenials go missing when this type of connection is missing.
3. Blame it on the gospel. we must continue to call people to embrace the gospel, which at its very core, is a life of selflessness (Mark 8:34). we tend to be good about teaching the benefits of the gospel, but not as good as pushing people to embrace the call of the gospel (self denial and actually following the selfless example of Jesus). embracing the call of the gospel is the only thing that will serve as a motivator for people to focus on others, reach out, and adapt where necessary so that others can become more like Christ (1 Cor. 9:22).
4. Embrace accountability. holding people to the standards of scripture is not an option for spiritual leaders. investing in other people (i.e. discipleship) is not an option or a good suggestion in scripture. it is, in fact, a command. as a lead pastor this is part of how i’ve asked to be evaluated by my elders. if i am not helping older adults invest in younger people, i need to be fired.