Churches are struggling to attract young people. I’ve seen dozens of churches look at this and most of them throw up their hands and do nothing because they don’t know what to do. There are two sides to this, kind of a “chicken and egg” scenario.

First: you need to find the people who you are targeting. I can’t emphasize enough that the target audience for every church should be young families, aged 20s, 30s, and 40s. Those families have young children and teenagers. Those families become the future of the church, especially if they are brought into leadership of the church. Now, where to find them? Frankly, everywhere. These families are millennials and reports I’ve seen say that they do not respond at all to door knocks (like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses) – in fact, they are very much turned off by them. However, it is easy to find them because every Saturday they are at a ball field with their kids. What if your church had a pop-up tent/canopy that went to these events and had a table with free water and snacks for the families and kids. That would say that “we’re here and we’re a family-oriented church.” It gives the volunteers the opportunity to speak to the moms and dads in a relaxed atmosphere. The same could be done at a local farmers’ markets or other community activities – some type of presence where your name is visible to a younger crowd.

Second: this is much, much, much harder. Once you attract families and they actually show up at church, do you have programming that is excellent and of such great quality that the kids AND parents want to come back. You need to have programming that is so outstanding that you get a reputation for being excellent. Excellence will attract people, especially a younger generation.

Here is the conundrum: you need an excellent program (that implies substantial number of kids and young people) so that when you go out to solicit, they’ll have already heard about it and be eager to come. The answer: work on both sides of the opportunity – recruiting people to come and developing an excellent program – so that they support each other and you develop synergy.


Lead On!