Millennials are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
This season of COVID-19 has been a struggle for most of us, not being able to gather the way we want, having to do something different with the way our students attend school, the masks that we have to all wear on our faces and financial struggles. Based on the Barna survey below, millennials have been heavily impacted.
As you can see in the survey, while each age group has been impacted, millennials are at the top of each area. Food and supplies and financial assistance rank high, as this season might have caused them to lose a job or have to shift a position due to telework or no work. You also see that emotional support is higher for millennials than the other groups. They are connected but not close (See my article on loneliness for some thoughts on loneliness during this season.) Here are a few thoughts on engaging millennials during this season.
ACTIVE IN MINISTRY ONLINE
Millennials, like many groups, want and need to be active in ministry. Most of us can be honest and say that we grow as we serve God’s people. This is true for them, and what makes it different is the quality of help they bring. Many of the millennials in our congregations and communities are assets to us. They have not just gifts and talents but proven skills. They manage large budgets at their jobs, have traveled to different places, and have been exposed to new things that would benefit the church.
The issue or tension to manage is that what they bring to the service moment might be so different that we reject it. However, rejecting it might be blocking us from the blessing that God has placed in our ministries. I believe that our websites, podcasts (if you have one), student ministries, church apps and more could be better if we engaged them to help us by serving in these areas.
COMMUNITY AND SUPPORT
Another area that we can support or engage millennials is with groups and community-serving opportunities. Most of their lives have been focused on being connected. Remember they were born into the generation of having cell phones or beepers and the internet. As a result, community and groups are essential and something that we need to try and help them create and keep during this season.
Even if it’s just an online community on Zoom or group text and/or group FaceTime, connection within the community is needed—somewhere they can share how things are going at work, at home, and in general. They need community support.
Millennials also need opportunities to serve in order to be part of something larger than themselves. Before COVID-19, one of the driving reasons for this age group’s engagement was serving on larger projects for community impact. That want and need hasn’t gone anywhere, so our job and goal should be to involve them in service projects. If you do not currently have any service projects, that is fine; engage a few of your millennials now and ask them to think of ways to impact the community. I am sure you will have some options soon.
Lastly, millennials need mentorship and resources. As the chart shows, they need financial resources, but I also believe that they can benefit from mentorship. What would it look like to partner millennials with senior saints in the church to share with them about their jobs and their passions, as many of our seniors have lived full, well-experienced lives? It is better to learn from someone else than make a mistake on your own.
How are you engaging millennials in your congregation and your community? What would you add to this list?