CNLP 069: A Completely Different Take on Reaching Millennials with Haydn Shaw

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So you’ve read all the stuff about millennials leaving the church?

Author and generational expert Haydn Shaw has a very different perspective than many.

He thinks our panic is premature and offers deep insight into every generation your church is trying to reach: Millennial,s GenXrs, Boomers, and Elders.

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3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Haydn Shaw explores the dynamics of millennials, how they’re influencing culture and what impacts they’ll have on the future of the church. He shares with us how to embrace change and make transitions without ignoring the needs of other generations who still want to be heard.

  1. Ask some new questions. To get the answers you want, you may have to ask the question differently. If you present the question as, “Why don’t they come to my church?” The answer is simple: they don’t like your church. Go with a different approach, and develop your strategy from there. What does your church have to do differently so that you can reach younger generations? By default, that warrants a follow-up question: What do you do with the people who are older, whose church it has been, if you’re going to take it away from them by making it younger and for another generation? What do we give them in its place? That’s the question that never gets asked. You can’t take something away without putting something else in its place.
  2. Change your definition of adulthood. Generations agree that fully developed adulthood starts at 28. And because millennials are in limbo between adolescence and adulthood, they’ve been an easy target for misplaced blame. One of the factors that determined whether or not millennials gave up on Christianity was determining if the church was a safe place. When you create a healthy environment for younger generations to explore their feelings and ask intellectual questions, you help them see the church as a place where they want to be.
  3. Put Millennials in leadership positions. Churches need to look at the skills people have developed outside of the church and see how they can share their gifts within the ministry. We tend to recruit people and hire people who don’t make us feel insecure, but loving our insecurities will transform the church into a new era. Learn to lead and mentor from the side. Invite the younger generations, from 20s to 40s, back to the table. You can still get stuff done when you’re not leading from the front.

Quotes from Haydn

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As leaders, we tend to see the challenges and roadblocks before other people do.

We've all been there before...

  • You need to refresh your vision for the future but know that change will be an issue for that person.
  • You're overstaffed (or missing a key role) and can't find the right person to fill the role.
  • You aren't reaching enough new people even though you've tried everything that's working for other churches.
  • You can see the issue but aren't confident in what to do about it.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.