Wednesday is for Discipleship
Just read the second article this week on how the church is failing to reach millennials here and here. Honestly, it seems like everybody is jumping on this bandwagon and singing this song, “the church is losing millennials.” I have no doubt that the facts are there to support the conclusion. But I have real doubts about some of the analysis as to the reasons and even more about some of the solutions proffered.
So, in the interest of being anecdotal and highly opinionated from my own unresearched perspective and experience, here is my take on HOW TO REACH MILLENNIALS.
- Pray. About 6 years ago, the elders of Trinity Church began to analyze the congregation and concluded that they were getting old. They began to pray that God would give them wisdom and impact in reaching the next generation. He did. He led them to call a younger pastor who led the church to start a new campus, identified a highly relational campus pastor in the congregation and deployed him into ministry.
- Call to Repent. The church became much humbler in its approach to ministry and prayer became a higher priority.
- Worship. Worship became a higher priority. Not just the hiring of a worship pastor, but a worship pastor who understood the importance of worship to spiritual health, who was committed not just to music and quality but to spirit and truth. Worship began to emphasize the holiness of God and call to holiness in the body. Contemporary blends of choruses of significant content with the traditional hymns that rooted the congregation in a significant past.
- Preach. Expositional, substantive teaching through books of the Bible became the backbone of the worship service. Paying attention to the word of God. Working to obey everything we find with joy.
- Disciple. One-to-one discipleship has become the heart of our process of ministry. We don’t talk about discipleship; we do it. Men are building into one another’s lives. Women are investing in one another’s lives. Iron is sharpening iron and men and women are beginning to talk about their faith in bold but sensitive ways and people, families are coming to Christ and following in obedience to be baptised.
- Elders are acting as elders not deacons. Elders are praying, teaching, and shepherding and learning how to do all of those better. They try not to get involved in minutia of day to day operations and budget issues, instead, the are making key investments in discipling men, praying for the congregation, contacting and caring for people and supporting the mission of the church.
The single largest demographic coming to faith and moving to regular attendance, membership and intentional discipleship are millennials.
Just like in the first century, substantive, authoritative teaching of the word of God coupled with leaders giving biblical priority to biblical patterns of worship, prayer, preaching and obedience (discipleship), grows the church qualitatively and quantitatively.
Acts 16:4–5 (ESV)
4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.