As I mentioned in an earlier post, I attended a conference in Chicago on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 subtitled “Make Room for Me”. The one-day conference was focused on how to address the needs & preferences of Millennials in today’s church.
For the first time in American church history, nearly an entire generation has grown tired of organized religion. This group of 18- to 34-year olds no longer feels safe inside church walls or comforted by its people. And so they’ve begun to walk away…from the church and/or from the faith.
The keynote speakers were all excellent. Aimee Cottle, an online engagement strategist with Fishhook, spoke on how to communicate with Millennials in her talk entitled “In Google We Trust”. She spoke about using Inbound Outreach as a way to connect with Millennials and encourage them to be the church they want to be. Generosity Strategist Julie Bullock spoke about the assumptions we tend to make about Millennials and their willingness to give to the church (most of which she says are wrong).
The highlight of the conference was a presentation by David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, who offered a first look at results from a new study on church architecture and Millennials. “This is brand new, groundbreaking research looking at how the spiritual journeys of Millennials match against their expectations of churches,” Kinnaman said. Their research took a close look at Millennials and architecture—they’re reactions to worship space, and their experiences in local churches.
Tying into themes in his book You Lost Me, Kinnaman helped us better understand the Millennial Generation and what the new research findings mean for the future of church facilities. The presentation was mostly raw data, as the final report has not yet been completed. Nonetheless, I took away some valuable insights about designing worship spaces that will appeal to this generation.
If you were unable to attend the conference, you can still find out about how to keep Millennials in your church by reading the Barna Group’s 5 Reasons Millennials Stay Connected to Church.
Curious about the people millennials admire most? Check out this slide show, based on a 2012 survey of 400 14-34 year olds.