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

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.

Welcome to Episode 69 of the Podcast.Headshot Select edit

Guest Links: Haydn Shaw

My Generational Coach

Christianity is Not Dying

Free Videos for Staffs and Boards

Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart

Generational IQ: Christianity Isn’t Dying, Millennials Aren’t the Problem, and the Future is Bright

Haydn on Twitter

Links Mentioned in this Episode

Student ‘safe spaces’ reflect idealistic yearning: Why are we ridiculing students who seek to make the world a better place?

David Kinnaman; Episode 24

The Barna Group

 The None Study

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Ted Cunningham; Episode 7

Chris Brown; Episode 67

Jerry Gillis; Episode 62

Tim Keller

Andy Stanley; Episode 1

Kara Powell; Episode 4

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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Next Episode: Dave Adamson

How does North Point do social media? Dave Adamson walks us into the strategy North Point has adopted. Dave gets into very specific details AND—best of all—makes super helpful suggestions for churches with no staff and resources or leaders who are just getting started.

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


  1. Zachary Verbracken on April 2, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Wow, this is gold! there are concepts here that I’ve never really heard before and it’s fascinating. I Can’t wait to share it with other pastors.

  2. Jay on February 6, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Absolutely fantastic episode, Carey! Every church is staring face-to-face with topic of generational ministry in general and millennials specifically. You’re interview with Haydn Shaw was chockfull of some of critical information. If you ever assemble your “greatest hits,” this would have to be among them. Thanks for all you do!

  3. Bryn Joslin on January 7, 2016 at 12:42 am

    Wow. Carey, you consistently put out great podcasts, but every now and then you put out a gem that is like an explosion in my brain. Episode 57 with Aaron Harris was one. This is another.

    I’m a 21-year-old youth pastor from the UK, with my eye on the fact that I feel, somewhere down the road, God’s going to call me to lead my own church. As a young guy my heart is to address all of the faults and weaknesses that seem so intrinsic in the church, while also honouring and respecting the men and women that have gone before me. It’s on their shoulders I stand and I’m not cocky enough to believe that my generation is going to create a church that is flawless.

    Your podcast continues to give me that wisdom to stay grounded and also that, what I hope is, Godly ambition and hope for the future and what could be done in the church.

    Once again, brilliant episode. This will be one I’ll be digesting and meditating on for while, I’m sure.

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