You walk in the front door and see a well-designed coffee area. Standing around the high-end espresso machines are a large group of people dressed in jeans and untucked shirts.
As you move through the building, you see large, open areas where people gather to connect. The industrial design has the right blend of modern and retro, and it clearly engages this younger generation in attendance.
Am I talking about a modern church building or a modern office facility?
Technically both. But I pictured a modern office when writing that description.
As I interview corporate leaders for Forbes, I’ve noticed a trend: companies now invest more time and money in great experiences for their team. Culture is the number one topic in companies, particularly those wanting to keep top talent.
Why is this trend important for Christians?
Simple: Millennials are replacing religion with work. In other words, the office is the new millennial house of worship.
Gallup released a massive survey earlier this year on millennials. Here’s one interesting stat: only 55% of millennials say religion is important, compared to 65% of Gen Xers and 70% of Baby Boomers. And 51% of millennials say they seldom or never attend a religious service.
With a decline in religious involvement, where do millennials turn for religious expression?
Millennials are least likely to use their vacation days, and they’re most likely to be workaholics. But what about work draws millennials away from religion?
Millennials love community
Companies work hard to create a great environment for their team. From open floor plans to high quality coffee bars, companies invest time and resources in their team. These environments create opportunities for collaboration and connection.
As millennials get older, companies shift in order to stay engaged. For example, many companies offer benefits like paid parental leave for new parents. Other companies have events like “Family Day,” where employees bring their spouses and kids to a big party during the workday.
Companies engage millennials with a sense of community beyond the cubicle, and it works.
Millennials want a purpose
It’s hard to read about millennials without seeing something on purpose. The Gallup survey mentioned above indicates many millennials choose a job based on purpose, not salary. In other words, millennials want to make a difference daily instead of making more money.
In other words, millennials want to make a difference instead of making money.
Many millennials desire to make a difference in the world, and they do so both at work and in the products they buy. Companies like TOMS with the Buy One, Give One campaign is wildly popular among millennial consumers.
The same values ring true for millennial employees, which is why many companies offer volunteer programs. Corporate leaders see the value in connecting a bigger purpose to the daily task list, and employees become more engaged.
What should the church do?
How can we as the church communicate our message to a generation increasingly disinterested in it?
First, we must communicate and demonstrate the importance of community in the life of the Christian. This message goes far beyond “Come to church. It’s important.” Instead, model biblical community: a group of people united by the gospel and focused on serving and caring for one another.
We model this by putting people first. Don’t make it a slogan; make it your decision-making grid. Show people how the gospel impacts our relationships with other believers.
Second, we must create opportunities for people to join in a greater purpose in our local churches. Of all organizations on the planet, this truth should be the easiest for churches to grasp. Yet many churches proclaim a weak and inadequate message that is neither compelling nor captivating.
In order to reach people, church leaders must clearly portray the greatness of Jesus. Dive deep into the power of the redemptive story of Scripture.
Don’t give “4 Ways to Slay Giants like David” or “3 Ways to Build Big Boats like Noah.” Show a glimpse of the bigness of God and the greatness of His plan.
Do these things and you’ll be surprised at how many millennials show up. In fact, you’ll be surprised at how many of every generation shows up.