Many Millennial parents today (those born between 1980 and 2000)
don't care how great your children's ministry is. They already have
a compelling reason not to attend church. According to Dave
Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons in UnChristian, Millennials
are less likely to return to church after starting families because
they perceive the church as promoting bigotry.
Why? One of the biggest values the Millennial generation has is
tolerance. And Millennials perceive that Christianity has nothing
to do with tolerance. Rather, Christianity excludes by the simple
nature of its beliefs--that there is one way to God and that's
through Jesus. So how can you possibly reach these parents and
their children if the very basis of our faith is repulsive to these
parents? Try these ideas.
1. Watch your attitude. Cleanse your heart of
any "holier than thou" remnants. Approach all people and all faiths
with the humility and awareness that it is only by grace that we
are saved--not something we've done.
2. Watch your language. Do you refer to
people outside of your faith or church as "heathens" or "pagans"?
Find a more loving term to communicate that you're no better than
those who haven't yet come to faith in Christ.
3. Let Jesus do the talking. Express how
much you and your ministry love ALL people and remind people that
Jesus said he is the way, the truth, and the life--and that no one
comes to God but through him.
4. Pray. The work of drawing people to God
is God's work--not yours. Rely on him to turn parents' and
children's hearts to himself.
For me, it is a mysterious thing how someone comes to faith. And
it is a tremendous privilege that we get to partner in that. My
prayer is that God continues to help us get out of his way and on
his team more and more as he lovingly draws people in.