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If you have any millennials on your church staff, you know that they’re different. And while many traditional church leaders are quick to equate a different approach with a wrong approach, wise leaders know that different just means, well, different. In fact, different could even mean better.

Millennials can, will, and are doing some amazing ministry. They are coming into their own in church leadership, and they’re the ones that are going to help lead the church forward. So instead of complaining about them, we might as well help them. Try these 6 approaches to motivate the millennial leaders on your church staff:


  1. Help Them Avoid Boredom

Millennials have grown up with the constant interruption of smart phones and sound bites. This has conditioned them to be great at multitasking — so don’t expect them to sit down and work the way you do, with tremendous focus on one thing for an extended period of time. Help them avoid that monotony and let them dabble with multiple things at one time. They’ll have more fun and produce more results.

  1. Help Them Join a Cause

Everyone knows that millennials are cause-oriented. But what most churches haven’t come to grips with yet is one of the key reasons so many millennials are leaving the church: they don’t view the church as a cause worth giving their life to. Is your church an institution, or a movement? Have you turned the Gospel into something to be dissected and intellectually understood, or something that is powerful and mysterious? Help them see the church as a cause worth giving their life to.

  1. Help Them Manage Their Heart

Feelings are more important than facts to millennials. While it might not make sense to some previous generations, they think more with their heart than their head. That’s not to say they aren’t brilliant, it’s just to say their motivation is more centered around the question, “Does this feel right?” Rather than using facts and figures, church leaders can help millennials by increasing their emotional intelligence, being more thoughtful about how their actions may be perceived, and how their words may affect the feelings of others.

  1. Help Them See the Win

Millennials have grown up in a world of instant gratification, access, and results. Anybody who has been in ministry for any length of time knows that’s not how it really works. Instead, we have to help millennials celebrate the small wins of life change that happen along the way. Help them celebrate the first downs, and ultimately, help them make the connection between their day-to-day ministry and the big-picture vision.

  1. Help Them be True to Themselves

Millennials aren’t going to follow someone or be a part of something that feels inauthentic to them. The best gift that church leaders can give millennials is to exercise real leadership and stop leading through position, title, or power. Instead, learn to lead with humility and personhood. They won’t respect you because of your position, but instead, for who you are and the value you add. In this way, millennials are a gift, and challenge many church leaders to lead in a way that they may have forgotten.

  1. Help Them Understand “Why”

In recent years, Simon Sinek made the phrase, “start with why” famous. Millennials don’t just want to know your plan. They don’t want to simply know what you want them to do; they want to know the why behind it. Millennials need to buy into the reason behind the plan of action. Help them buy into the why by making it clear.

Millennials are the future (and present) of the church. Let’s learn to empower and grow along with them.

Paul Alexander

Paul is a Ministry Consultant with The Unstuck Group. Paul has more than 20 years experience serving in the local church, the last 15 of which have been on the Sr. Leadership Teams of some of the nation’s leading mega-churches. Currently, Paul is serving as the Executive Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church, a large multi-site church located in the Phoenix area.

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