By Chris Martin, Social Media Facilitator, LifeWay Christian
NASHVILLE (BP) – It’s true.
Millennials aren’t streaming into churches like their parents and grandparents did years before.
Evangelicalism has lost its cultural chic and the cost of discipleship has increased, even if only slightly. Amid these cultural changes and other tendencies among Millennials, 86 percent of this generation claim some level of faith in “God” but only 36 percent self-identify as “religious,” according to Pew Research Center data.
Numerous methodologies, strategies, evangelism initiatives and other sorts of structures can be fashioned to reel young people into the church, that is for sure. Whether it’s smoke machines and plaid-clad guitar players or Starbucks coffee, churches have plenty of ideas when it comes to reaching Millennials.
My hope is to help with some of those strategies and encourage local churches to look for ways to leverage Millennial values in order to minister the Gospel. But first, I think we need to pray.
Before a church can hope to introduce people to Jesus, it must itself intimately know Him and submit to Him all matters of ministry, especially when it comes to evangelizing effectively. A posture of persistent prayer must motivate our ministry to Millennials.
Here are several ways you can pray for unchurched, perhaps unbelieving Millennials in your community:
Pray for the humbling of their hearts
The most educated generation in American history is also the most public generation in American history. Not only are Millennials the most advanced intellectually (if that can be equated with “most educated”), but they’ve got all sorts of ways to show off via social media.
Pray for the Millennials in your community that the Lord would humble their hearts and show them their brokenness and need for a Savior. The Holy Spirit works in mighty ways, but it is difficult for a sinner to accept the life preserver of unconditional grace if he cannot acknowledge that he is drowning in his sin. Pray for this humility.
Pray for the brokenness of their souls
The Millennial generation has grown up in pretty difficult times. September 11th, the Great Recession and a number of disheartening political periods. A lot of young people see the brokenness of the world, but not the brokenness of themselves. Pray not only for the humbling of their hearts but also that the Lord would heal them of the distrust and potential anger in their hearts toward other peoples and ideologies that may be different than their own.
Pray for financial peace
Millennials, particularly American Millennials, are by no means an impoverished people.
However, they have more student loan debt than anyone before them, and some effects of the Great Recession continue to rage on, depriving these young people of jobs to pay off their debts.
Pray that the Lord would give the Millennials in your community peace when it comes to finances, showing them that the source of their joy must be found in one who has paid debts far greater than those they owe to the bank.
Pray for curious minds
Sure, Millennials may be the most educated folks in history, but that doesn’t mean they’re all set in their ways. Often blown and tossed by the cultural wind, it’s safe to say that until the majority of them settle down and have kids, they’ll be more malleable when it comes to gray issues.
Pray that the Lord would keep the minds of the Millennials in your community curious and open to the possibility of a sovereign, saving God. Pray also for yourselves, that you would be willing and equipped to answer the questions born out of the curious minds of contemplative Millennials.
Pray for faithful friendships
Though they are a group of people who will tend to shy away from institutions such as government and marriage, Millennials love to be connected with friends. Relational evangelism has the potential to be as effective as it has ever been.
Pray that God would provide faithful, God-loving friends to the Millennials in your community so that they may be exposed to the wonders of resting in the Gospel and trusting in the Lord for earthly provision and eternal peace.
Churches need to be intentionally engaging the Millennial generation, but before you begin banging on doors and offering free pizza, take a moment to pray.