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General InterestInnovationMillennials

Tools for Engaging the Next Generation

By March 15, 2017 No Comments

Tools for Engaging the Next Generation

By Warren Bird

Does your church want to do a better job engaging young adults? The good news is that we have lots of help available. For quick-bite ideas see blogs like Carey Nieuwhof’s 7 Things Every Leader Should Know about Working with Millennials.

Below are my favorite books:

  1. The New Copernicans: Understanding the Millennial Contribution to the Church by John Seel. This releases October 2017, but you can pre-order it here. This is a sobering book. It digs into the “why” questions of millennials as carriers of a profound shift in the culture narrative, and then proposes serious shifts for churches to make in addressing it.Our millennial children are both the church’s greatest challenge and its exciting new opportunity
  2. For a New Generation: A Practical Guide for Revitalizing Your Church by Lee Kricher. This recent release tells a pastor’s dramatic story of leading his congregation to decide to become as young as the surrounding community, and the transition it made to get there. Today the church is alive with singles and families representing the “next generation.”
    Book For A New Generation Pic
  3. Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church by Powell, Mulder and Griffin. This recent release, based on groundbreaking research from over 250 churches, highlights ways strategic churches “grow young.”
  4. David Kinnaman has a pair of insightful though painful books: unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity (2012) and You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith by (2011), both in partnership with Barna Group.  Where unChristian showed the world what outsiders ages 16-29 think of Christianity, You Lost Me shows why younger Christians ages 16-29 are leaving the church and rethinking their faith – close to 60% of young people who went to church as teens drop out after high school.
  5. Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World by a pastor, James Emery White. This 2017 publication describes the new generation already making up more than 25% of the US population (those born 1993-2012). White also wrote The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated.
  6. The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation by Thom S. Rainer and Jess Rainer (2011). This father-son team reports how-and-why findings on family matters (they are closer-knit than previous generations), their desire for diversity, their workplace patterns, their attitude toward money, the media, the environment, and perhaps most tellingly, religion.

Worth a Skim: 20s Church: Open Your Ministry to the Power of a Generation by Heather Stevens and Will Mancini (2015). This highlights five things that every twentysomething is looking for in a church and every successful church is emphasizing in order to reach that age group. Generational IQ by Haydn Shaw (2015) highlights “emerging adulthood,” covering ages 18-28, as a new, distinct lifestage.


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Warren Bird

Author Warren Bird

Warren Bird, Ph.D. has been named a Leadership Network Senior Fellow in light of his exemplary service 2006-2018 as Director of Research and Intellectual Capital Development at Leadership Network. He serves as full-time VP of Research for ECFA.org (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). An ordained minister with background as both a pastor and seminary professor, Warren is an award-winning author or co-author of 31 books for ministry leaders including Hero Maker with Dave Ferguson, How to Break Church Growth Barriers with Carl George, and Next: Pastoral Succession that Works with William Vanderbloemen. Other recent titles are Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work with Jim Tomberlin, and Wisdom from Lyle E. Schaller. Some of Warren’s recent online reports include "Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard," and "The Heartbeat of Rising Influence Churches." See also research reports at leadnet.org/megachurchleadnet.org/salary and leadnet.org/portable. He is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading researchers of megachurches, multisite churches, large church compensation and high-visibility pastoral succession. He also oversees the world's only active, sortable list of global megachurches. Follow him on Twitter @warrenbird.  Click here to subscribe to Leadership Network Advance to get updates from Leadership Network.

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