As part of our #ShareTheLove effort, we want to talk about sharing the love with the next generations, both within and beyond our churches. We want to influence these generations, and to do that we need to make the most of their worldviews, their creativity, and their knowledge of current affairs and technology to increase the reach of the church.
Your church’s ability to influence the next generation is potentially limitless.
Young people aren’t some mysterious other. To get them involved, we need to view the world as they do and meet them where they are at. We can influence their involvement by making it easy, mutually beneficial, and by making it a community effort.
Make It Easy
Step one to increasing your influence with younger generations is to make it easy. (Now, to millennials reading this, we are NOT implying that you all are afraid of a challenge or lazy.) It’s just that with all of the areas crying out for attention, the church should be an oasis instead of an obligation.
How can you make influence easy? Offer a variety of ways for younger members and families to plug in and serve. We talked recently about getting more volunteers, and this applies here as well. Encouraging low-risk sharing of talents and building into those areas is definitely influential.
Real influence goes beyond service to relationships, however. Consider offering frequent opportunities to connect so that if one event is missed, another is close to follow. Encourage safe spaces for real conversations to happen. Allow questions to be asked and multiple sides to be discussed. Through these opportunities, you’ll all grow closer and learn more about the world outside of your church’s doors and how Christ can reach it through your joint influence. A consistently safe environment with low-risk opportunities creates an open door to commitment for the next generation.
Make It Mutually Beneficial
View an initiative to influence as something mutually beneficial. Mentorship programs can be about each generation really listening to the other and taking time to process the differences to arrive at truth, even if it is the mentor who ultimately leads. Small groups can work similarly, but on a group scale. Volunteer teams, too, can not only benefit from having younger members but by inviting them into the creative and visionary decisions and maybe even inviting outside guests for collaboration. Investment in existing members, plus invitations to the outside, equals influence.
Make It a Community Effort
The bigger the network, the bigger its influence. If your church’s goal is to truly impact the next generations, you are going to need more than one pastor reaching out to one person at a time. Small groups are a logical but effective way to get younger generations plugged in and ready for their own leadership.
We’ve seen it countless times; one small group grows and leadership potential is seen and fostered within it. From there, another group or two can start and the process repeats. Influential churches grow in ways beyond number of seats filled in a Sunday service. Influence is the grassroots campaign of your church: several leaders of all stations investing in members and in their communities. Done consistently and well, the influence will surely grow.
One of the most effective ways to build a strong small group network? Start with a system that includes leadership training and a growth plan. Learn more about our system here.
If we want to influence the rising generation, if we want to bring in the future of the church, we have to raise up leaders and share the love by extending meaningful influence.