How Older Churches Attract Younger Generations

How Older Churches Attract Younger Generations National Association of Christian Ministers

National Association of Christian Ministers Leadership Series 

Reaching out to a younger demographic when the average membership of a church is older can be a challenge, but it’s certainly possible with the right strategies. Here are some ideas to help your church engage in effective outreach and attract younger members:


Modernize Communication:


Utilize social media platforms, create a user-friendly website, and start a church blog to share relevant content. Younger generations are more likely to engage with your church online, so establish a strong online presence.


Contemporary Worship Style:

Consider introducing more contemporary worship styles, music, and visuals that resonate with younger generations.
Incorporating elements like praise bands, multimedia presentations, and interactive experiences can make the services more appealing.  Gen Z needs to feel like their churches are up to date with communication channeling across several social media platforms.


Community Engagement:


Organize events, workshops, and community service projects that address current societal issues and causes that resonate with younger generations. This demonstrates the church’s commitment to making a positive impact on the community.  For conservatives, this is a “must” in communicating “justice” or the lack thereof in the eyes of God.


Young Adult Groups:


Create small groups or ministries specifically tailored to young adults, while including the participation and wisdom of older church members.


Provide opportunities for them to:


Connect and find common ground between generations,


Discuss current and relevant topics from both the the younger and older perspectives,


Help older generations understand modern ethical dilemmas. Help the younger and older see the value of developing meaningful relationships within the church community; realizing that both are important and both have voices.


Relevant Teaching and Preaching:


Craft sermons and teachings that relate to the challenges and questions faced by younger generations.  Help them see how the same issues are also concerns for older members. Example topics might include: careers, relationships, mental health, and purpose in ways that are relatable and applicable to the real world.


Involve Younger Members:


Empower younger members to take on leadership roles and contribute their ideas to the church’s activities and decision-making processes. This fosters a sense of ownership and investment in the church’s direction.


Hint: one of those young adults may be perfect for integrating the church’s local presence on relevant social media outlets…


Collaborate with Local Schools and Colleges:


Partner with educational institutions to offer tutoring, mentoring, or workshops. This creates an opportunity for the church to engage with young people in a supportive and non-religious context.  Many older church members have trades they have worked their whole lives (welding, construction, business, etc.).  Help them find purpose in helping the next generation (integrating the gospel as our foundation to life as the build relationships).


Cultural Relevance:


Stay informed about current trends, popular culture, and issues that matter to younger generations. Incorporate these elements into the church’s activities and discussions, including memories of old where things “then” were not all that “different than today.”  to make them more relatable.


“Whatever has happened before will happen again. Whatever has been done before will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecc 1:9).


Use Technology Creatively:


Explore virtual events, webinars, podcasts, and online courses to cater to younger individuals who are accustomed to digital learning and interaction.  While God might not send the prepared to serve, often He uses to church to qualify the unprepared for service” -Michael Mooney


Warm and Welcoming Atmosphere:


Create a friendly and inclusive environment where newcomers, regardless of age, feel valued and accepted. Younger individuals are more likely to engage when they:


1) Are acknowledged, and


2) Feel comfortable, and


3) Respected.


Participate in Local Events:


Attend or sponsor community events, fairs, or festivals to interact with a wider audience and showcase the church’s presence.


Invite Young Guest Speakers:


Occasionally invite young guest speakers or artists to share their experiences and perspectives during church services or events.


Remember, the goal is to authentically connect with younger generations by understanding their needs, interests, and values. It may take time, but with dedication and adaptability, your church can successfully expand its outreach to a younger demographic while maintaining its core values.  Rest assured, the Lord continues to raise a mighty generation whose desire is to serve Him!