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Millennials are Sticky People
Millennials are Sticky People

Adhere Them to Your Congregation

  This excerpt of a post by Drew Dyck on the Aspen Group examines the trend of Millennials leaving the church, and says that neither making church more stylistically appealing or less religious will turn the trend around. However, research reveals some of the reasons Millennials stay with congregation. Takeaways follow. –Ed.
   

The Millennials are leaving the church in droves, and staying away. Approximately 70 percent of those raised in the church disengage from it in their 20s. One-third of Americans under 30 now claim “no religion.”

There are 80 million Millennials in the U.S.—and approximately the same number of suggestions for how to bring them back to church. But most of the proposals I’ve heard fall into two camps.

The first goes something like this:  The church needs to be more hip and relevant. Drop stodgy traditions. Play louder music. Hire pastors with tattoos and fauxhawks. Few come right out and advocate for this approach. But from pastoral search committees to denominational gatherings to popular conferences, a quest for relevance drives the agenda.

Others demand more fundamental change. They insist the church soften its positions on key doctrines and social issues. Our culture is secularizing. Let’s get with the times in order to attract the younger generation, they say. We must abandon supernatural beliefs and restrictive moral teachings. Christianity must “change or die.”

I think both approaches are flawed...
Read "Millennials Need a Bigger God, Not a Hipper Pastor" by Drew Dyck in the Aspen Group blog.

Takeaways

Move from admonition to mission. Research shows Millennials support causes, not institutions, and volunteer in large numbers to causes they feel make an impact. Intergenerational relationships keep younger people in congregation. The Fuller Youth Institute offers 4 findings from their research into how to keep young adults in congregation: Intergenerational Insight #1: Involvement in all-church worship during high school is more consistently linked with mature faith in both high school and college than any other form of church participation. Intergenerational Insight #2: The more students serve and build relationships with younger children, the more likely it is that their faith will stick. Intergenerational Insight #3: High school seniors don’t feel supported by adults in their congregations. Intergenerational Insight #4: By far, the number-one way that churches made the teens in our survey feel welcomed and valued was when adults in the congregation showed interest in them.  
Sources:
Millennials Support Causes, Not Institutions, Survey Finds from The Philanthropy News Digest.
The 2013 Millennial Impact Reportby Achieve Guidance.
The Vital Role of Intergenerational Relationships in Fostering Sticky Faith from Stickyfaith.

About the Author

  • Ted joined the staff of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in February 2010. He brings more than twenty-five years of experience using media to create social change by creating communications strategies and content for progressive non-profits, political campaigns, and cause based...

For more information contact blueboat@uua.org.

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