Is your congregation trying to “Attract Millennials”? Stop it.
Every day in every congregation in every city and suburb and small town, I hear the same thing: our church wants to grow. They say they are willing “to think outside the box.” (sigh) These congregations will try “anything“: screens in the sanctuary, drums in worship, a youth pastor with tattoos. They wonder where the Millennials are.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.
It fills me with joy when I hear someone say, “This church is not about me. I would give up my favorite things to be what God wants us to be.” And it’s about so much more than reaching Millennials.
It could be about personal discomfort. It’s definitely about giving up anything we love more than Jesus. Imagine giving up the beloved building, the beloved organist, the beloved pastor. Those are fighting words, but it’s possible that the building or a staff member – the very things we assume are so helpful – are keeping us from thriving.
I’ve known wonderful church leaders who can be counted on to volunteer at every turn, to bail the congregation out financially, to be present for every occasion and – as pastors – we declare them Irreplaceable Pillars Of The Church. At first.
And then we realize that the congregation cannot grow and make necessary shifts because the Irreplaceable Pillars keep others from stepping up to volunteer, to ratchet up their own financial giving, to participate.
Prayerful discernment led by faithful leaders is the ongoing practice of thriving congregations. And a willingness to take leaps of faith is a norm in thriving churches. It’s as simple and as scary as that. If your congregation is filled with Millennials – great. If you are not – great. Church growth is about so much more than that.
Image source here. A relationship with Jesus isn’t about anybody’s hipster quotient.