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Millennials, Gen Z and Your Church with Benjamin Windle

Thanks so much for joining us for another unSeminary podcast. Today we’re talking with Benjamin Windle. A native Australian, Benjamin has worked as a youth and young adult pastor in the US and currently helps churches develop Generational Intelligence in reaching Millennials and Gen Z through an assortment of resources, coaching, and speaking.

According to Barna research, six out of every ten millennials who grew up in the church have dropped out. Americans 18-29 years of age who have no religious affiliation have nearly quadrupled in the last thirty years. By 2030 millennials will represent 75% of the global workforce—will they represent 75% of your church? Listen in as Benjamin shares how we can close the gap and reach younger generations in our churches.

  • Develop generational IQ. // Millennials, Gen Z and the generations coming behind then have only ever known a digital world. This means their worldview starts at a very different place than all other generations and that fundamentally changes the way we relate. Additionally because life expectancy has grown, up to five generations can be living at the same time and they are marked by very different things. Businesses, community groups, charities, families, and churches are needing greater generational IQ because we are relating to such a diverse range of cultures.
  • Focus on leadership style and church culture. // We can’t close the gap in attracting younger generations just by having a “cool church” with sophisticated branding, cool music, and so on. Instead focusing on church culture and leadership style will direct you to new ways of talking and relating with younger generations, giving you a place to start. Benjamin has a book called “8 Innovations to Leading Millennials: How Millennials Can Grow Your Church and Change the World” which is available on Amazon and as a free PDF on his website. It goes over everything from the use of technology and social media to what to do with your organizational structure and how to have a relational leadership style.
  • Focus on children’s ministry. // Another area that is key for connecting with millennials is investing in children’s ministry. Right now a lot of millennials are in their 30s and are raising their own children. Being family-focused ministers to the parents because of the importance you are placing on their children’s spiritual health and growth.
  • Focus on truth. // We may put all our focus on giving younger generations entertainment as a way of attracting them to church, but we really need to focus on things of substance. The message of scripture shouldn’t change, but methodology and church culture need to. Have total clarity on what is the unchanging doctrine in your church and how you can be faster at changing the things that do need to be changed.
  • Focus on depth. // In a culture that’s shallow, depth is attractive. Content-driven depth influences our preaching, programming, small groups and more. Equip generations coming up to read, study and understand the Bible for themselves because we’re talking largely about biblically-illiterate generations. Focus on depth in community because younger generations are craving these things.
  • Focus on empowering young leaders. // We need to be putting 20-somethings in genuine leadership positions even before they have all of the qualifications and experiences. Take time to coach and mentor them. Ask how you can move younger people into leadership roles faster. Don’t keep them in the background because they don’t have all the competencies you may think are needed.
  • Resources for reaching Millennials and Gen Z. // Benjamin has wrote a few white papers for churches including “The Promise of Pain: Seven best practices for pastoring Millennials and Gen Z.” and “8 Innovations to Leading Millennials: How Millennials Can Grow Your Church and Change the World”. These resources and more can be found on his website.

You can learn more about Benjamin and his resources at www.benjaminwindle.com.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.