Even though many declare America to be a God-fearing nation, the number of Americans who identify as “Christian” has dropped to around 70% since 2014, according to the Pew Research Center.
Millennials have played a big role in this drop, considering they are the largest group of individuals who have become “unaffiliated.”
With this massive number of Millennials leaving the Christian faith, how do Christian leaders and organizations keep them engaged?
Is it with cool, trendy churches who cater to college students, offering Hawaiian rolls and Franzia during communion while an acoustic singer/songwriter jams in the background?
What about edgy sermons justifying sex during college and how God is actually OK with blowjobs? (an actual sermon I heard a few years ago).
In my opinion, probably not.
You know what may actually work? Treating them like the mature, thoughtful individuals they are. This shouldn’t seem too foreign, considering millennials are motivated more by purpose, autonomy, and impact in their professional lives. Why wouldn’t they want the same things with their religion?
Just consider how employers at mission-driven organizations are recruiting millennial talent. They are giving Millennials stronger, more decisive values to use as banners to march behind. These organizations are also including young employees during crucial decision-making moments, which can seem counterintuitive to more conservative teams.
Why not adopt these practices in a religious organization? Talk with potential members and not at them. Leverage their strengths for your organization while presenting them with challenges worth their time. They may have valuable insight that was initially overlooked.
Ultimately, no single tactic will save Christianity among millennials. It will take a holistic approach, empathy, and sincerity to keep this group engaged for the long haul. Just like in business, if your organization doesn’t adapt, it will eventually die.
This post reflects the views of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!