From the desk of Seth Libby, writer and editor for The Church Online
It’s the demographic everyone is after: the young men and women of America. Whether it is soda, cinema, or salvation, all our society’s advertising efforts are directed towards the Millennial generation. But with all that inundation of advertising, all that claim on young people’s time, how can you and your church stand out?
Here are three tips to get your message in front of young eyes and bring the young flock back into the church.
1. Speak their language, but do it carefully
As a media-saturated generation, much communication between young people involves the use of said media. This involves things like internet jargon (think of all the acronyms and abbreviations you see thrown around online from LOL to TL;DR), as well as an infinite number of memes and cultural references from repurposed catchphrases to gifs.
It’s important to understand these things, but be wary. The language of youth changes at an incredible pace these days. A widely-shared joke today is burned through and left for the oldies by tomorrow. Trying too hard to fit in is worse than not trying at all.
2. Be upfront with the direct generation
The Millennials are a generation that is tired of being targeted by advertisers looking to sell. At this point, they’ve seen all the tricks in the book. They’ve been raised on colorful commercials for sugary cereal and have come of age in a world of viral marketing. But the thing that works best, that cuts through the new century’s cynicism, is genuineness. People like John Green who specialize in being genuine and upfront develop huge followings. And those followings remain loyal.
By refusing to play the game of salesmanship with your church and instead putting forward an open, concise, and honest message of what you stand for, you will get much more attention than all the flash you could think up would have brought.
3. Let technology be your friend
This is perhaps the most obvious point, but one well worth remembering. Most of life for young people is lived online these days. Be prepared to meet Millennials in their preferred world of communication. That means not just Facebook and Twitter but Instagram, Tumblr, and Vine, among others. Always be ready to jump into new technology. You’ll have much more success if you bring your church to them than if you expect them to come to church.
All this can seem a little hard to handle for people already busy trying to keep God in the lives of every person in their community. Next time you are looking to spread the Word to the next generation, remember these helpful tips.