Advice for Christians Evangelizing Millennials

If you are trying to get people to be Christian the first thing I would say is do a gut check.

How much are you willing to be inconvenienced in order to reach people? This is because none of the easy things people do to evangelize (like going on TV) work any more. You might draw a small crowd but they generally won’t stick. The things that really reach people are inconveniencing to say the least, especially in a culture where the threshold where people feel put upon has been receding. The evangelism work itself is much less rewarding because it’s not like you can do a puppet show with an altar call and a bunch of people will give their life to Christ. It’s more like ministering to Muslims where you spend years building relationships and maybe one or two people think about coming to the faith. You want racial diversity but do you want it bad enough to buy and put in a window unit air conditioner for a poor minority youth struggling with anger issues? You want to be inter generational but do you want it bad enough to invite a different young family or single to your home once per month. You want to be welcoming to singles who are past their twenties but do you want it bad enough to bring them into your life so you don’t reject them with the chestnut “I’m too busy” excuse but instead they become part of your busy or relaxation? It is important to make an honest and unflattering self assessment as to how much you are willing to sacrifice to bring about the things you say you value. When you inconvenience yourself in the name of your values your life will become less comfortable but will be more meaningful.

How much do you really value good? Good and evil have become more convenient in this modern age. It is very easy to sit in air conditioned rooms and virtue signal. It’s also easy to consume and spread hate on social media. It’s easy to be a culture warrior and picking a hill to die on based on some hot button issue such as LGBT inclusion. But while God is easy, good is very difficult. And good doesn’t make the news cycle and does not garner you (a most likely lonely person) attention and validation. It’s counter cultural in a world that is leeching virtue. Nonetheless people are drawn to it. Not just people who enjoy praise and worship smoke machines but hardened atheists who absolutely hate religion and wouldn’t be caught dead in a church. The slow burn of goodness doesn’t make quick converts but it does make ones that are more likely to stick. Millennials are living in a very philosophically materialist time (which the internet fans into flame) and have a very difficult time believing in anything supernatural. Goodness bypasses these filters the way other things of the faith do not.

What am I doing to foster digital community. Millennials and Generation Z live on the internet and while they do prize real life interaction a lot of their spaces involve a combination of the two. You may have to create a private Facebook group or a Discord chat server to compliment your real life space. This isn’t easy as it sounds because you will need to have someone with technological social skills moderate said forum so things don’t get out of hand. A lot of the time people who live most of their lives online get left out of church communities because there isn’t any social online outreach. Some people are so geographically isolated and have so many things different about them that they aren’t accepted in any real life community so online community is their lifeblood.

Am I going to offer transportation? This is basically a yes or no question. Do I value including others in the church community enough to give rides to church and small group functions to people who need them?

What are you actually saving people from? The Evangelical answer is hell obviously but that begs the question what is hell? Kids in cages? Crippling anxiety (which a high percentage of generation Z students suffer from). It is said the younger generation is less afraid of hell because they don’t believe in the supernatural but it might also be because of the hell they have actually been through. They need to be saved from the evil around as well as the evil inside of them. The night nurse at the mental ward is much more of their salvation than a decision at church camp. Love might not win in any absolute sense but it definitely wins people to the faith. But it’s difficult and painful so people generally settle for niceness. It’s also important to frame sin as something that often makes those around you suffer rather than denigrating people with the idea that they have “inherited guilt”. When you can draft a clear, personal statement of what you are actually saving people from it will help you redouble your efforts in the right way.

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