It is projected that 80 percent of Millennials will have families by 2023. Did you know that over half of this generation already has kids?
As a children’s and family ministry leader, you likely wrestle often with 1) “How do I effectively serve the young families in my church community?” and 2) “How do I reach new families… and keep them coming back?”
The truth is that the future of the kids in your ministry and your church depends on how you respond to these questions. If you are not seeking to understand who your Millennial parents are, how they think, and the ways you can come alongside them in their child’s discipleship, you need to be giving that some time.
What are three steps you can begin taking today to connect with the Millennial parents in your church? (While this is not an exhaustive list, it is a good place to start! See my note at the very end 🙂 )
- Make the time to really get to know WHO the Millennial parents are in your ministry. You cannot assume that you understand them because you have heard generalized research.
- “The lack of fear of God in culture is concerning…everything in society tells my kids they should live for themselves and put themselves first.” When I share that quote with people, and I ask them to tell me if it’s a Boomer or Millennial talking, they always select Boomer. That’s because it doesn’t sound like what they’ve heard about Millennials. But a Millennial parent is indeed the one who was concerned about what culture is telling their child. As a children’s ministry leader, we can come alongside these young parents and partner with them in helping them spiritually lead kids to Jesus. But that can’t happen if we don’t get to know WHO they are or WHAT is on their heart.
- Give an opportunity for feedback by sending your young families a survey – ask questions about what is important to them, and provide an opportunity for open-ended responses. See what themes arise and take action. Taking action on their feedback will earn trust.
- Engage them on the platforms they already are interacting on- what social media channels work best for them? Find out and meet them there.
- Ask the Millennial parents you serve if you can meet up with them at the park with their family (or wherever they might be with their kids during the week- Chic-Fil-A, a play-place, etc.) and bring them coffee. Be a warm and encouraging presence, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about things that matter.
- Safety and security + Welcome = the key to returning families
- A Millennial parent will not leave their kids in an environment that feels unsafe, unclean, and insecure. Period. Make sure you are up to date on procedures, policies, and secure check-in/check-out. But that isn’t all… it’s also of utmost importance that the ethos of your early childhood ministry on up is one of welcome and warmth. The way to a Millennial parent’s heart is by how well you love and care about their child.
- Keep your volunteers regularly updated on safety and security policies, and make sure that all your procedures are enforced. Everybody on the team has to care about this, and you set the level of importance.
- Make sure your volunteers are aware of how much impact their response to the parents and kids has when they are dropping off and picking up kids from their rooms. Eye contact, smiles, using names, and giving a brief overview of what their kids will experience or has experienced goes a LONG way.
- Give them a village.
- Most Millennials likely have a support system, but that doesn’t always mean they have a spiritual community. They value intergenerational relationships that have positive impacts on their families, and they also need to connect with other Millennial parents of faith. If you can effectively make those connections for them, it will change the way they interact with the church as a whole and provide their kids with a village that cares about their discipleship.
- Find ways to de-segregate generations in your church – create opportunities that include every generation like Sabbath dinners.
- Be a connecting platform- as you get to know the families that make up your church, make introductions that connect Millennial parents to mentors and to peers. Share genuinely and specifically why you are connecting them, too.
Friends, we could truly talk for days about who Millennials are, what the differences are in reaching Millennials of faith vs. those who have not trusted in Jesus yet, what micro-generations look like for this group, and the list goes on… However, if you feel called to come alongside these young families in their discipleship and the discipleship of their kids, then I encourage you to join me at CPC18 where we will have an entire track of breakouts devoted to the topic of reaching and understanding Millennials. This is going to be a hope-filled, passionate series of breakouts that are going to transform the way our ministries reach families. I look forward to seeing you there!