This post will not be about drums, guitars, screens, or “how to get Millennials to fill out church pledge cards. (Answer: you can’t.)
Instead, I have some interesting not-fake news:
More Millennials are moving to Charlotte, NC than any other city in the United States.
(I now live in Charlotte so that’s fun.)
This stat comes from the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau which rated Charlotte with a 10,707 net migration figure for people between the ages of 20 and 34. Net migration = the # of Millennials who moved into Charlotte minus the # of Millennials who moved out.
You most likely do not live in Charlotte but all of us can learn from a report that’s getting some attention in this area. The Charlotte Millennial Plan is being created by a group of fifth year architecture students at UNC Charlotte who were given a grant to study why Millennials are moving here. Their study is called:
#ShapeCLT, “A Vision for Charlotte. By Millennials. For Millennials.”
Why do people – specifically a generation of young adults between ages 20 and 34 move anywhere? According to initial findings, Millennials are looking for:
- Connectedness – strong physical and digital interactions
- Liveliness – “street life, transparency, movement, sound, color, visual busyness.”
- Radical inclusion – “a synergy of cultures”
- Urgent innovation – “unafraid of radical change; tackling contemporary issues with urgency.”
- Ecocentricity – concern for the environment
- Health – personal well-being
- Sharing – creative cooperation while fully supporting “the sharing economy”
- Uniqueness – interesting architecture, history, geography, and local culture.
I would like to live in such a place as well and I’m 62.
And – because I’m theologically wired to return back to Church World – what does this mean for our congregations? How many of our congregations reflect the features highlighted above?
How many of our churches are authentically connected, lively, radically inclusive, urgently innovative, ecocentric, healthy, engaged in economic partnerships, and uniquely interesting?
Not to be a downer, but my hunch is that most of our congregations are disconnected, boring, exclusive, stuck, styrofoam-loving, lethargic, economically segregated, and not very unique or interesting. (Sorry.)
What will be The Millennial Plan for the 21st Century Church? It has nothing to do with drums, guitars, screens, or “how to get Millennials to fill out church pledge cards.” It has everything to do with authentic relationships with each other and with the world in which we find ourselves.
This is going to take some pondering, prayer and deep discernment, my friends – no matter where we live if we are serious about serving younger generations (and maybe all generations) in the future.
You can order the 2018 Charlotte Millennial Plan here.
Even if you don’t live in Charlotte, you might discover insights for your city, town, or suburb.
Next week: Rural Churches.