Many congregations are struggling to connect with the millennial generation. In today’s fast-paced world, where society teaches us to question everything, organized religions are in a decline, while new non-denominational congregations seem to be opening their doors in every city.
Sometimes the biggest challenge is to get younger families to step through your door. Once they are inside, they often stay because of the ministry and fellowship opportunities.
While your printed Guide Book & Directory helps those new families find their way around in your organization, getting them in the door is the first step.
Ways to Open Your Doors for Younger Families:
- Choir Performances: If your congregation has services full of music (especially around Christmas or Easter) then let the community know through signs outside and running an advertisement in the local newspaper. Don’t forget to put it on social media as well.
- Community Meals: Hold a dinner and invite customers of the local food pantry to join you for a free meal. In fact, Salem in Ballwin United Methodist Church in Missouri has asked members of their congregation to give rides to/from their Thanksgiving Dinner as well for the last 25 years.
- Vacation Bible School: Or as the members of St. Dominic Catholic Church in Minnesota call it…Vacation Bible Camp. Make the program fun, and then invite the community to join in by asking members of your congregation to invite their neighbors and friends with kids to attend. If your congregation doesn’t have the resources to run your own VBS then partner with other congregations in your community.
- Religious Awards Programs: Most faiths have a religious awards program available for youth to complete. Many times these awards are requirements if they are involved in Scouting. Regardless of their involvement in a Scouting program, these awards make for a great Sunday School curriculum.
- Theater Productions: Challenge your existing youth group to put on a production and invite their friends and the community to come watch. Not only will this bring new people through your doors, but it will form a tighter group with your current youth.
- Bible Studies or Community Classes: Bible studies and classes (such as Financial Peace University) are a great way to open your doors to the community. Consider hosting a free “Bible Basics” session for all age levels through the P.R.A.Y. Curriculum available at: www.praypub.org
- Carnivals: Hold a community carnival and game night. Holy Infant Catholic Church in Missouri holds a carnival for their parish, school, and the local community to kick off each school year.
- Scouting and other Youth Serving Ministries: The largest sponsor of Scouting units for the Boy Scouts of America are faith-based organizations. Open your doors to the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, American Heritage Girls, Big Brother Big Sister programs, Camp Fire, Trail Life Scouts, 4-H, and many other youth programs.
- Scouting programs are a great way to get families to step through the door of your building. Whether it is for a unit meeting, an event, meeting in the parking lot to head off on weekend adventures, or attending a Scout Sunday service, Scouting opens doors to instilling values and morals that will open their hearts to God. Check out these videos produced by the Boy Scouts of America for information on how Scouting can help your congregation.