I’m hearing the same refrain echoed from different congregations:
“Millennials and Generation Z don’t want to serve in the church.”
This is a myth.
Millennials can and do serve in churches. They just aren’t likely to serve in churches that…
- Expect leaders to blindly serve without being told why the role matters.
- Expect leaders to attend committee or board meetings that are not actively engaging the people they serve.
- Expect leaders to defer decisions to other leaders.
- Expect leaders to serve in roles that meet institutional needs.
In summary, churches ask Millennials and Generation Z to serve on church boards for the next two or three years without explaining why the board’s ministry matters. The Millennials are told their board won’t actually make major decisions, which are deferred to the Church Council or church staff.
Given this, the younger generation declines to serve. The myth is born.
It’s time for a reality check. Millennials and Generation Z are serving in churches. They are serving in churches that…
- Ask which causes matter to them, then engages the Millennials in serving those causes.
- Empower leaders to make as many decisions as possible. Churches are providing boundaries or policies for leaders to make decisions, as opposed to waiting for the church council to act.
- Form short-term teams to get ministry done. Instead of asking Generation Z to serve on a board, they are asking them to form a team for the next six weeks.
- Connect the dots between God’s mission and the purpose of the congregation. These churches show why serving in a congregation matters both to God and those being served.
Does this mean your church will be inundated with young leaders if it starts these practices? No, it doesn’t. It does mean your church could see more young leaders step up. It also will open doors for younger non-members to seriously consider your congregation.
If you are a Millennial or Generation Z, what are other ways churches could help you engage in ministry? If your church has young leaders, what lessons have you learned in helping the serve? Share your thoughts in the comments or shoot me an email.