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Are you ready for a new generation of disciples? Pastors, meet the Millennials. Millennials, meet XYZ church.

Oops, there is a gap here. Most Pastors are not a part of Generation Y (also known as Millennials).

  • Generation Y are individuals born in the early 1980s to 2000s. They come after Generation X. Millennials represent an important emerging group of potential disciples as they are also sometimes referred to as “echo boomers”.
  • This refers to their size relative to the large group of Baby Boomers. In the US, birth rates peaked in 1990.
  • It is helpful to know that Millennials have distinctly different behaviors, values, and attitudes from previous generations as a response to the technological and economic implications of the internet.

 Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.

English Standard Version. (2016). (Psalm 48:12–14). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Society and technology is evolving faster than many churches can adapt. We have to come to grips with the fact that the next generation disciple (member) landscapes are not only changing, they are evolving beyond our grasp. You and your leadership team are not dealing with disciples you know and recognize. You are in fact talking to strangers.

This means that we all need to spend a lot of time understanding what is important to this evolving group of disciples. Why would they want to engage with our ministry? How do they make decisions? Without that level of insight, we can’t create meaningful experiences for this emerging and important disciple. This group is critical to your future members, advocates and donors. This would be the time to start designing experiences based on their interest and behavior.

Here is some information that may be helpful in looking at these strangers known as Gen Y:

  • Seventy-three percent have earned and used virtual currency.
  • Gen Y will form about 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 and are already actively shaping corporate culture and expectations. Only 11 percent define having a lot of money as a definition of success.
  • Sixty-six percent will look up a store if they see a friend check in.
  • Start-ups dominate the work force for Gen Y’ers. Only 7 percent work for a Fortune 500 company. They expect large organizations to hear their voice and recognize their contributions. They need an “intrapreneurial” culture.
  • They are three times as likely to follow a brand over family members in social networks.
  • Millennials watch TV with two or more electronic devices.
  • Millennials trust strangers over friends and family when it comes time for purchase decisions. They value user-generated experiences heavily.
  • Twenty-nine percent find love through Facebook while 33 percent are dumped via TXT or Wall posts. (I’m not making this up)
  •  Gen Y’ers believe that other consumers care more about their opinions than companies do. That is why they share their opinions online.
  •  Most people on Facebook have about 240 friends. Gen Y’ers maintain about 696 friends.

We need to bridge the gap from being strangers to becoming partners with our next generation of Jesus’ disciples.

Here are the key ideas:

  • Understand how millennials are different as a group.
  • Design Discipleship experiences with a significant digital component
  • Recognize that “traditional” church involvement is not important.