Young family
There are some unique and specific trends millennials bring with them into parenthood. (Flickr )

About 25 percent of millennials (age 18 to 34) are parents and in the next decade, they will give birth at the rate of nearly 10,000 children per day. They are the young families you are trying to reach. 

There are some unique and specific trends they bring with them into parenthood. And you need to know what they are, if you want to effectively reach them. Let's take a look at 10 of them:

1. Image is important. Brands and outward appearance matter to millennials. They will spend money on clothes they can't afford to stay in style. But it doesn't stop there. Millennials believe everything they purchase is an extension of themselves. Keep this in mind as you brand your children's ministry. Millennial parents are drawn to excellence. How your logo looks, the appearance of your facilities, the quality of the printed pieces you place in their hands and the professionalism of your videos matter.   

2. Experience matters a lot. Millennial parents are experience-driven. This is reflected in where they choose to go on vacation, what restaurants they eat at, what entertainments venues they seek out and what church they attend. Instead of choosing a church based on theology or what denomination it is affiliated with, they will choose a church based on the experiences it provides for them and their children. I know it sounds shallow, but it is what it is. And before you are too quick to judge them, look beneath what appears to be a shallow surface and you will find a generation longing to experience the life-changing presence of God in a new and fresh way. 

3. Health is important. Millennial parents are tuned in to health trends. Their cupboards are lined with vitamins, minerals, probiotics and organic foods. They are the first group of people to try new health foods. They also exercise regularly and play a sport at least once a week.

They also are very attentive to the health of their children. They monitor what their children are eating and get them involved in sports from an early age. Go to the soccer fields or baseball fields, and you will see this is true.

It's important to remember to keep in mind the healthy mindset of these young parents. Churches can appeal to millennials by offering healthy snacks and sports/exercise programs for their children as well as for the parents themselves. Many churches are using sports programs such as Upward with great success. Others run sports campus during the summer months to reach out to millennial families. 

4. Social media is king. Millennials love social media. It's how they stay connected to their friends and family. They love to post photos, videos, songs and other content on social media. If you want to connect with them, then make sure your ministry has a presence on social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are key social media platforms you want to be on.  

5. Multiple media devices, all at once. Millennial parents often use multiple media devices at the same time. They can be watching TV, talking on their cell phones and looking at their laptops or tablets, all at the same time. If you're going to catch their attention, you must make your content quick and eye-catching.  

6. They indulge their children. Millennial parents want their kids to have more than they did as a child. As a result, they tend to indulge their children with extra thing things they didn't have, even if it seems a little extravagant. Churches that want to reach today's young parents must ensure their children love coming to the children's ministry. I recently wrote about how children's ministry will grow your church. If you didn't get to read it, you can access it here.

7. Family comes first. Millennial parents still hold many values that their parents and grandparents held. Values like sitting down together for family dinners every night and spending time together each day. In fact, they are the least likely to sacrifice time with their families to get ahead. Effective churches honor families' time and are very selective about what they put on the church calendar. They also create opportunities for families to do things together at church.  

8. Reviews influence decision-making. Today's young families make many of their purchases online. This means they rely heavily on product reviews. In fact, many of them base their decisions on this and disregard traditional advertising as irrelevant. Perhaps this means encouraging the families in your church to share their stories, reviews and experiences online through social media can be more effective than traditional advertising avenues like television, newspaper, postcard mailers and so on. 

9. Mobile rules. Millennial parents always have their mobile device with them. It's their connection to the world. And it's often used more for social media than it is for phone calls. Make sure your website is mobile friendly and you have platforms to deliver content to people on their mobile devices. 

10. Researching before engaging. Millennials do lots of online research before making a big-ticket purchase like a car or a home. When it comes to checking out a church, they do the same thing. Long before they walk in your doors, they have more than likely walked into your doors virtually. Churches that want to reach millennials must have easy-to-navigate websites that give young families a great look inside the ministry from outside the four walls. In recent years, I have had so many families tell me they had checked out our website before deciding to come for their first visit.  

Millennials are no longer self-centered teenagers you can ignore. They are fast becoming the most powerful generation of parents ever to rise. Let's be equipped and ready to reach them for Christ.

Dale Hudson has been in children's ministry for over 27 years. He is the director of children's ministry at Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida. Christ Fellowship has nine campuses and ministers to over 25,000 people on weekends. Dale leads a children's ministry staff team of over 70 and a volunteer team of over 2,600. He has authored 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Children's Ministry100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Preschool MinistryChildren's Ministry in the 21st CenturySunday School That Worksthe ChurchLeaders.com Top 100 book, and If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

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