Millennials grew up traveling to the moon on a keystroke. Their first cell phone wasn’t connected to a bag. Their first computer wasn’t the size of the living room. They made friends in distant countries all before leaving high school. When they smile, it looks like this: 🙂
They are as unique and diverse as the globe. So how can you reach them?
In Thom S. Rainer and Jess W. Rainer’s book, The Millennials, they asked 1,200 Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) across the United States, “What is really important in your life?”
The greatest answer?
By 61 percent.
“Friends” received 25 percent.
No other answer scored above 17 percent.
Millennials may not be living like The Waltons, but their need for active relationships is core. Instead of giving a nightly shout out to John Boy, they update their Facebook status before bed. They may not know their neighbor. But they still have close friendships from childhood, though now living a continent away.
What Millennials want is to be connected. In everything. All aspects of life. That includes where they work, where they go to church, and whether or not they tune you in or tune you out.
Are you a business with Millennial employees? A church with Millennial members? A ministry hoping to reach a Millennial audience?
Here are a few ideas to consider.
Hiring a Millennial means willingly becoming a mentor. That’s what commits them to their work and that company. They want to learn from you, ask you questions, pick your brain, understand the dynamics of the industry – all of the dynamics, not only their piece of the puzzle – and have the freedom to toss ideas into the arena.
In other words, they want to be part of the team. Give them a jersey and send them up to bat once in a while. They may knock one out of the park.
Reaching Millennials means creating a personal relationship. They won’t be the generation that comes every Sunday morning, sits on the same pew, and passively incorporates church attendance into their lifestyle for no other reason than it’s a convenient location. They won’t tune into a daily ministry program simply because it’s there, either.
They need a reason. And their reason is always about their relationship to you.
Millennials want a church family, church friends. Think Little House on the Prairie. But with surround sound and indoor plumbing.
To reach them, they will want to know you. And that takes an intimate connection. Now is a great time to assess your focus on small groups and their community outreach.
Connecting to the Millennials needs to be two-pronged. You’re out there, in their medium, online and accessible. It’s a good start.
Media use to be monolithic. The television talked. People listened. That, however, is over.
This generation wants interaction. They want a conversation. And new media provides that. They text, tweet, instant message and comment on blogs and status updates. That’s part of their life. And you’re right out there with them.
Great. That’s the first step.
Now what else have you got?
Millennials connect with nearly everyone online. Their friends, coworkers, clients, favorite television shows. Everyone’s chatting in one new media venue or another. They are in mini conversations all day. 160 characters at a time.
So how does your ministry find relevance in the midst of a massive cultural shift?
You go beyond Facebook.
If there is a place in your ministry where real people connect, show it. If there is a building where real people gather, promote it. If there are activities happening where real people get involved, publicize it.
Millennials have an innate desire to interact with you. They want a relationship. They want to get involved, to connect, to contribute. Use your media to do more than distribute information.
That means interacting through Facebook status updates, through Twitter posts, through YouTube Channel videos, as well as your traditional ministry program.
Once connected, interact. Build a relationship. Then invite them in. Millennials need to know you’re real. You’re reachable. And relationships are waiting.
Then when you meet them face-to-face, don’t forget to :-).