How To Engage The Youth Of Today

When you look around at your church, how many younger members come every week? It’s important to learn how to engage the youth of today so you have regular members in the future.

Churches often struggle to connect with kids and teens. It’s kind of like trying to be the cool parent but still not fully understanding what these younger members truly need from you.

You don’t have to give up on them. They still need guidance from church leaders and members. It’s just learning the right ways to engage them.

Problems Connecting With Younger Members

custom church website buttonOne of the biggest problems pastors and adult members have when trying to engage the youth of today is trying to make church cool. It’s no big surprise that church isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. In fact, up to half of kids and teens that are part of youth groups growing up don’t stick with their faith as they move on to college.

Your younger members do enjoy a more upbeat worship style, but the focus still needs to be on God and the reasons why a Christian lifestyle is important. Most importantly, it needs to feel like a real conversation with the youth of today instead of just trying to sound like you’re one of them.

Focus On Engaging Storytelling

God’s word isn’t always the easiest to understand. Plus, as it’s written, it doesn’t exactly connect with the youth of today. One thing that does engage them is storytelling. In a world where everyone is constantly sharing their stories on social media, younger members relate more to that method of teaching. When trying to get a point across, use a storytelling approach and don’t forget to involve them in the process as much as possible.

Invest Time In Them

Outside of youth groups, many younger members don’t feel noticed. They may feel like they’re just supposed to blend in, which goes against everything they know. In fact, feeling disconnected from church members is one of the top reasons teens leave the church. It’s important for church leaders and adult church members to make time to talk to them, answer questions, listen to their ideas and more. The easiest way to engage the youth of today is to make them feel like a valued part of the church family.

Give Them A Chance To Get Involved

As with every generation, the youth of today get antsy when they just have to sit and listen. They don’t feel like there’s any point in them being there. Give them the opportunity to help make a difference in their community and in the church. Let older teens lead volunteer projects with younger members. Listen to their concerns and try to get involved in areas that matter to them. This gives them a chance to practice what they’ve been taught, which provides a stronger connection to their faith.

Offer Chances For Them To Talk Freely

grow your church buttonNo one likes feeling judged and younger members are more sensitive to judgment than your adult members. Engage the youth of today by offering them a place to talk freely. When they’re facing difficult choices in their lives, discuss it with them instead of just telling them what to do.

It’s a good idea to make time during youth group to talk freely with each other. This ensures your young members don’t feel alone and they’ll actually come to youth leaders when they do have a problem. This helps build the sense of community and family that young members want as they transition into adults.

Get Involved On Their Level

Finally, it’s important to remember that to engage the youth of today, you have to get involved on their level. Today’s youth are digital natives. Most of them have had smartphones in their hands since elementary school. On the other hand, many of your adult members are still trying to figure out theirs.

If your church seems outdated, it’s not going to be very engaging. Instead, get your younger members together to help provide tips or even manage social media and your website. Text them to remind them of upcoming events, post messages related to current events to social media, add in some fun Christian humor for them share and even create an online message board for them to interact online.

Ready to engage the youth of today? Start with a website that’s filled with great content for them to interact with and share.

How To Encourage Millennials To Be Active In Your Congregation

Getting millennials into your church is only half the battle. The second part is trying to encourage millennials to be active members.

You may find that they attend services, but rarely volunteer or become a part of smaller worship groups. This doesn’t mean they’re not interested, though.

The key is learning what millennials want and how to appeal to their interests. When you do that, you’ll have active Millennials in your church.

Find Things They’re Interested In

Honestly, this applies to all generations. Think about school for a moment. You were probably far more active in classes you were interested in. The same goes with church programs. Send out a survey either within the church, on your website or on social media. Ask millennials what their interests are and what types of things they’d be most interested in helping with.

Offer Opportunities That Make A Difference In The Community

If you want to encourage millennials to be active, offer them opportunities that matter to their community. Millennials want to make a positive difference and that means going out and doing things in the community versus just asking people to come to the church. Ask about causes close to their hearts and find ways to get the church involved. When millennials feel like they’re making a difference, they’re far more likely to not only be active, but stay active.grow your church button

Give Them The Chance To Lead

Millennials don’t just want to be part of a team. They also want the opportunity to lead sometimes. For instance, if you’re starting a church Facebook page, it might be beneficial to ask a millennial to head up the social media team. If they have a cause that’s important to them, let them lead a team of volunteers. This shows millennials that you see them as equals and not too young or inexperienced. Plus, it gives church leaders a great opportunity to mentor these growing leaders.

Get More High Tech

While millennials aren’t interested a flashy environment, they do want some tech tie-ins. For instance, offer the opportunity to use Bible apps, have an active social media page and upload content regularly to your blog. You can even offer digital tithing to encourage more active tithing among millennials. Mixing some of the things Millennials love into your church shows them they’re more welcome and encourages them to be more active.

Consider asking your members what types of tech they want to incorporate. After all, if the majority of your members are on Facebook versus Twitter, it’s best to skip Twitter and use Facebook instead.

custom church website buttonAdd Millennial Church Leaders

One of the best ways to encourage millennials to be active is to have millennial church leaders. It’s easier for millennial to relate to leaders from their generation. These leaders also know what’s important to their fellow millennials and can encourage them better than older leaders can. While you don’t have to replace your current leadership with millennials, adding one or two is a good idea. Another option is to create smaller groups with millennial leaders.

Make Communication Easy

Finally, millennials want a church that communicates well. They want to feel like part of a family versus being preached to on Sunday. They want communication throughout the week. This is a generation that craves immediate satisfaction. Their faith is no different. When they’re struggling, they want to know they can talk to other members in their church family. Having more contact with members and leaders during the week keeps Millennials not only interested, but makes them more likely to be active.

When it comes to being more active, make it easy for millennials to check out the latest programs, leadership opportunities, and volunteer opportunities. Social media and forums on your church’s website both work well for millennials. You could also have a text or SMS tree to get the word out.

Ready to start encouraging millennials today? Start with a church website to stay in contact with millennials all week long.

Church Leadership – Working With Millennials

Working with millennials might sometimes seem like trying to suddenly speak a foreign language, but it’s not nearly as difficult as it might seem.

Actually, as church leaders, it’s a great opportunity to better understand millennials and become the type of leader they need. It’s a learning experience on both sides, but well worth the effort.

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to work and worship alongside this generation once you figure out what they’re looking for in a church.

custom church website buttonMake Them Feel Involved

You might see millennials on their phones all the time and think they aren’t really interested in being involved, but the opposite is true. When working with millennials, make them feel involved. Most of the time spent on their phones socializing. In fact, 81% of millennials check Twitter daily and Snapchat reaches 41% of 18 to 34 year-olds daily. They use their phones to stay involved with friends and family. Give them something to do and make them feel like part of the church community and they’ll be much happier.

Ask For Ideas

A common stereotype about millennials is they don’t exactly respect authority, but that’s not true. They just want to feel like equals. As church leaders, do more than just talk at them. Instead, ask for their opinions and ideas. This goes back to helping them feel involved versus feeling like a nameless face in a crowd.

Work To Make A Difference

There are plenty of misconceptions when it comes to working with millennials and one of the worst is that millennials are too self-absorbed to care about anyone but themselves. Most actually actively seek ways to make a positive difference in the world. They look for churches that are involved in the community and that work to help areas in need, such as coming to the aid of neighboring communities during a natural disaster.

Having a place to explore their faith, while making a positive impact is exactly what millennials are looking for. Give them that and they’re easy to work with.

Mix With Their Culture

One noticeable difference between millennials and older generations is the digital culture. While many older adults have embraced technology, they’re still not quite as immersed as millennials. This is the generation of social media, selfies and sharing every detail online. In fact, they tend to live a large portion of their lives online.

Working with millennials means mixing cultures. You don’t have to compromise everything, but adding a website and social media communication are two great ways to show millennials that they’re welcome and that you want to work with them.

Encourage Questionsgrow your church button

Millennials aren’t nearly as confident as they may appear. Just like everyone else, they have questions. They’re not always certain about what path to take in life or even something as simple as what role they might play in your church. Encourage them to ask questions. Make it easy for them to talk to church leaders privately so they don’t feel embarrassed asking about a personal issue in their lives. Having a open door policy makes millennials feel more comfortable engaging with leadership and helps them to feel more confident themselves.

Talk To Millennials

Want to know one of the easiest ways to making working with millennials a smoother process? Talk to millennials. It might not seem helpful, but the best way to understand their needs and concerns is to just ask. Small Groups spoke with millennial church leaders to shed some light on common misconceptions and what millennials wish other generations knew about them.

The interviews even explain the TMI (too much information) issue with millennials. It’s their way of relating to others by sharing their own stories. One important piece of advice is to show millennials what to do by letting them into your life and sharing your own experiences with them. It’s how they relate and how they build both personal and professional relationships in life and within the church.

Want to start working with millennials in your own church? Start by embracing their culture with your own church website

Why Leading The Unchurched Is Never Easy

Leading the unchurched may not always seem easy, simply because the benefits of your church might not be as obvious to them as it is to you.

Most unchurched people aren’t opposed to attending church, but they have to find the right fit for their needs. This means listening to those needs and finding ways your church can help meet their needs.

The most important thing to remember is to take the time to understand unchurched people. In many cases, they’re just looking for a church that is open to their questions about faith.

It’s Difficult To Build Trust

custom church website buttonWith 45% of Americans identifying as unchurched, it’s important to help them find their way to the right church for them. The problem is building trust. Many unchurched are actually de-churched, meaning they once regularly attended a church. These people are hesitant to return due to bad experiences in the past. Building trust again isn’t easy, but with patience and persistence, it’s possible.

Leading the unchurched effectively means talking to them regularly. Ask if they’ve attended before and what made them stop. Find out why they’re hesitant to be a member. Once you know why they’re holding back, you’re better able to address those issues.

It Feels Like Two Different Worlds

How much do your church members and leaders know about current culture? If it’s been a while since you’ve had new members, your church may seem like an outdated foreign concept to the younger unchurched. Think of it like an out of touch school teacher. You can force students to sit and listen, but how much they comprehend depends on the teaching style. If the style is more current, the students pay better attention.

The same goes with leading the unchurched. You have to find a way to blend your current church community and current culture, so it feels more comfortable for everyone. For instance, your current members might not see the use for a website or social media accounts, but this may be the preferred way for the unchurched to find and interact with your church.

Sometimes You’re Just Not Ready Yet

It might be difficult for any church to admit, but you may be failing at leading the unchurched simply because your church isn’t quite ready yet. The big question you might have right now is “how do I know if the church is ready?”. The easiest way to answer that is by taking a look at Carey Nieuwhof’s post 9 Signs Your Church Is Ready To Reach Unchurched People. If you’re struggling with any of these areas, focus on improving first and then you’ll be ready to lead unchurched people better.

Your Members Have To Be On Board

grow your church buttonIt doesn’t matter how effective your leadership is with the unchurched if your members aren’t being supportive. If unchurched people feel judged or shunned because they’re not members or regular attendees, they won’t be receptive to anything from the church. Make sure that your members are accepting and encouraging. This makes the unchurched attendees feel more comfortable and they’ll give the church a better chance.

The Unchurched Have Big Questions

The unchurched aren’t unreachable. It’s just that nearly two-thirds have never had anyone actually explain faith in a meaningful way. Leading the unchurched means you may have to start from scratch. For people who haven’t pursued their faith, they’ll have quite a few questions and it’s up to you and your members to answer them as completely as possible.

Seeming shocked or annoyed by their questions will just prove to them that you’re not the right church for them. While every question can’t be answered, the right leadership will help them understand why there isn’t an answer. As with any member, everyone has questions. Be prepared to answer unchurched individuals’ questions and they’ll be more likely to follow your leadership.

Leading The Unchurched On Their Terms

If you want to lead the unchurched better and turn more of them into members, you have to learn to reach them on their terms. It might mean taking a more modern approach, but isn’t that worth it to fill your church and reach more people?

Start your leadership off right by reaching the unchurched online. Contact us today to find out how our web design services can help your church.

How To Make Your Church’s Technology Engaging to Millennials

how to make your church's tech engaging to millennials

It’s a problem that churches face every day – millennials are leaving and not coming back.

This disturbing trend comes from millennials wanting something different from their church. Their lifestyles are different now and they want to be part of a community that reflects those differences.

While many churches try to appeal to millennials with fun technology, your church’s technology needs to be engaging to millennials. Luckily, that’s not nearly as difficult as you might think.

Keep Technology Relevantcustom church website button

Tech trends change rapidly and millennials pay close attention to trends. Why else would they stand outside in the pouring rain for hours for the latest smartphone or tablet? When millennials walk into your church, what do they see?

Is your church’s technology current or are you still using large desktop computers and bulky projectors? The same applies to a church website that looks like it was made in the 90s. Outdated tech makes millennials feel like the community won’t understand them. Make your tech more engaging by keeping up with the trends.

Go Where Millennials Are

Just because many millennials are leaving physical churches, it doesn’t mean they’re no longer interested. In fact, 80% of Christian millennials have posted scripture on various social networking sites and at least 65% prefer to read the Bible on a digital device.

Millennials are the digital generation. If you want to engage them, you have to go where they are. Send out tweets and Facebook posts with scripture and insights from your most recent sermon. Offer social share buttons on your website. You can even create your own app.

Ensure You’re Always Accessible

Millennials are known as the generation that doesn’t exactly have patience. They’re used to be connected 24/7. Texting, social networking and the Internet in general means they’re not used to waiting to get what they want or need. Your church’s technology needs to be just as accessible.

For instance, millennials may lose interest in a church if they only interaction they receive is on Sunday. Instead, have Q&A sessions on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit during the week. Create a community forum on your website for all members to interact during the week. Technology can bring everyone closer together and bring millennials closer to church.

Create A Social Atmosphere

More than anything, millennials crave a casual, community atmosphere in church. They’re not looking for flashy light shows, loud music or a speaker system that makes them feel like they’re being yelled at. Churches don’t have to go overboard on technology. Instead, use your church’s technology to create a more social atmosphere.

For instance, create an app with live surveys during the service. Ask a question and let members provide feedback in real time. Instead of feeling preached at, they feel like part of a community. Even if you’re in a simple building versus a massive cathedral, creating a social, community feeling through simple technology, such as integrating smartphone use into your service, works far better at engaging millennials.

grow your church buttonIntegrate Technology Naturally

It’s easy to get excited and want to fill your church with all the latest and greatest technology, but think about whether you really need it? Going overboard pushes millennials away. Since all millennials aren’t the same, there isn’t one exact plan for what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to your church’s technology.

The one thing that is clear is technology needs to appear natural. For instance, your church’s website should reflect the tone and personality of the church itself. Start by updating or building an easy to use website, recommend different Bible apps (or create your own church specific app) and integrate smartphones and tablets into services.

The last thing millennials want is to go to church and feel like they’re with a group of people who are trying way too hard to please them. They want to fit in and integrating technology naturally makes them feel more comfortable.

Keep It Simple

Whatever technology you use, keep the focus on worship and not on the tech. After all, millennials want a place where they feel free to be themselves and be authentic. They want to explore their faith in their own way. Technology helps engage them, but they still need spiritual guidance. This is where church and tech come together to create the perfect solution for millennials.

Keep your church’s technology simple and you’ll engage far more millennials. Use tech to be more accessible and social. Even if millennials aren’t physically at church, they’ll still pay attention online and reaching them is what’s most important.

Looking for ways to make your church’s technology more engaging? Start with a custom website that speaks to and engages millennials.