It’s not terribly difficult to find elderly and middle-aged people to fill your church, but millennials, or those between the ages of 18 and 35, are another story. It takes a lot more to get their attention, but that’s not to say they’re uninterested in church. According to studies, 67 percent of millennials believe in an afterlife, and 41 percent consider themselves extremely religious. This percentage is quite a bit lower than that of older generations, but it’s a large portion of the population you could be inviting to church.
No matter what your target demographic, most churches seek a little diversity in their congregation in order to bring varying perspectives and audiences to the fold. Millennials can be a little more demanding in the things they seek from a church, but you’ll find it beneficial to cater to their whims. Here are a few design suggestions for attracting millennials to your church.
1. Visual Language
According to research, the brain actually processes images 60k times faster than it processes text. For that reason, images and other visual materials are beginning to take over for those immersed in the digital world. Imagery should play a larger role in multiple avenues, including your church website and the architecture of the space. It should be clear when a person walks into the room where they should go and what they should do when they get there. This is the best way to invite both those who have been to church their whole lives and those who need a little prompting.
2. Well-Designed Windows
If there’s one thing that sets this group apart from other generations, it’s their love for nature. For that reason, well-planned windows are essential. When designing a place of worship, consider the element of natural light and the placement of the panes. Do you need artificial light to supplement the lighting? Are the windows so high you can’t see through them? You might not want giant windows that put your church on display—that’s distracting and limits privacy. But it might be good to have a few windows that are low enough, wide enough, and clean enough that your parishioners can see the great outdoors. Throwing in a few stained glass windows might be wise, too.
3. Expansion Capabilities
Isn’t one of the ultimate goals for churches multiplication? Design for expansion from the very start. You want to bring in more people, and the first step is providing space for them. Appeal to your younger generation enough to make them want to stick around, and give them a reason to invite others to attend church as well.
4. Space for Relationship Building
Even though this generation of churchgoers is the most technologically connected out of any generation, they still crave interaction with others. For them, part of attending church is socializing with the community and building a strong relationship with the pastor. The entire space should be contrived for social mingling. If the hallways are too narrow and the lobbies are too small, there won’t be any room for conversation before and after the meetings. Always try to dedicate a visible space in your church for mingling, whether you serve coffee and donuts in a classroom, set up tents and chairs on the lawn, or renovate the church to add a larger lobby or reception area.
5. Social Media Connection
Appealing to this generation is about more than the architecture of the space. It’s also about connecting through the social media world. Do you have a website? Facebook page? Twitter account? What about other social media profiles? Millennials look for that kind of connection; plus, you can grow your following by posting spiritual thoughts on a daily basis and advertising events and church times. You can also create Bible study groups through Google hangouts to create a more technological church experience from home.
6. A Clear Pattern of Reuse
The Three R’s – renew, reuse, and recycle – make for a popular motto for a large population of your younger parishioners. They’re very into the environment and making the world a better place. When they find out you built your church using sustainable construction and you make recycling a priority, they could view this as one of your biggest strengths.
7. Make It Family-Friendly
More and more of the millennial generation are having children. This could be one of the reasons that fewer people in this age group are attending church. It’s difficult to keep a child happy and content during a church service. You can appeal to a wide audience simply by making your church more family-friendly. There should be a dedicated place for parents to park their strollers, and you should also consider adding a nursery for them to utilize during services. These are simple additions that will bring in a much wider audience.
8. Give Them a Break
The entire church experience can be a little too much for millennials, which makes providing a place for rejuvenation and respite so important. As your church grows and expands, it’s easy to forget about the importance of personal spiritual growth that can be achieved through quiet and meditation. Give your younger audience a place where they can simply be alone to commune with nature and a higher being.
9. Get Millennials Involved
If you’re looking to improve your church and to appeal to a pickier audience, then get that group involved. Put them on the planning committees, and get their input by distributing surveys and talking with random groups. Then, use that input to design a church they would love to attend. You have the power to revolutionize the way millennials view church, simply by involving them in the planning and design process.
As mentioned previously, this group craves a connection with nature. Make sure your space is designed to accommodate that desire with beautiful walkways, neatly trimmed grass, outdoor seating areas, and even a cool water feature. There’s no better way for millennials to connect with your church and nature than through a beautiful outdoor space they can peruse at their leisure.
Get Started with Your Design at Churches by Daniels
Churches by Daniels has been in the church construction business since 1980. We’ve seen what it takes to build churches that appeal to all audiences, including those in the younger generation. We focus on quality craftsmanship that can help you draw more people to your church. For more information about the services we offer, please contact us today!