Evangelism is scary for most Christians.
Despite the fear evangelism creates within Christians, most believe sharing their faith is essential—especially millennial Christians. A recent report by the Barna Group illuminated this reality about millennials:
- 96% believe part of their faith means being a witness about Jesus
- 94% said the best thing that could ever happen to someone is for them to come to know Jesus
- 86% expressed confidence in responding to questions about their faith
Even though Christian millennials possess an urgency for evangelism, like every other generation, there is a gap between intention and reality. In other words, many Christian millennials don’t evangelize.
Talking about generational differences, the challenges millennials face are different. They experience unique internal and external objections. So, to equip Christian millennials to evangelize, the strategy you use must reflect these differences.
In this post, I’m going to share six ways you can equip millennials to have more faith conversations. Use these tips to create a custom evangelism training plan for your church.
#1 – Cultivate an evangelistic culture
You cannot turn people—especially millennials—into evangelists.
There’s not a program you can provide, a book you can share, or a message you can preach that’ll turn people into evangelists overnight.
For most people in your church, a desire to evangelize will slowly develop over time.
The best way to grow this desire among millennials is to create an evangelistic culture. But let me warn you: Building an evangelistic church culture isn’t easy, and it takes (a lot of) time.
What is an evangelistic church culture?
In short, evangelistic church culture is when the members of your church share the gospel because it’s just what your church does. Like attending a worship service, joining a small group, or bringing food to a potluck, evangelism is what your church pulls together to do.
But my church culture doesn’t support an evangelistic lifestyle. Now what?
If this is what you’re thinking, hang tight.
All hope isn’t lost.
Thankfully, your church culture is something you can influence.
Below are several ingredients you can knead into the life of your church to compel your millennial church members to share the gospel.
#2 – Treat evangelism like a spiritual discipline
As a church leader, you’re called to make disciples.
To make disciples who live and love like Jesus, you have to teach them Christianity 101: reading the Bible, prayer, biblical community, and baptism and communion, to name a few.
Why state the obvious?
To help millennials embrace an evangelistic lifestyle, show them that evangelism is a spiritual discipline similar to praying and reading the Bible. Per Jesus, sharing the gospel is one way we can live like him (Matt 28:18–20).
Let’s be honest:
Sharing the gospel isn’t always fun.
Often, the people we talk to about Jesus will not be open to hearing what we have to say. What is more, many millennials fight the fear of “offending” someone, which makes sharing the gospel … tricky.
But here’s the deal:
The gospel will be offensive to some people (1 Cor 1:18). But we don’t have to share it offensively. There’s a big difference between the two.
Arguably the best way to share the gospel with someone else is in a relationship, which leads us to the next point.
#3 – Build bridges with people
Millennials highly value relationships.
Most millennials grew up with divorced parents, and they’ve experienced the pros and cons of developing friendships in light of social media and unfettered access to the Internet.
What is more, based on the survey by Barna, many millennials (40%) feel judged if someone disagrees with them.
Here’s what you need to know:
Millennials will be more open to hearing about the gospel if they know who you are.
Practically speaking, to equip Christian millennials to share their faith, encourage them to build bridges. In general, evangelism is most effective when the person you’re sharing the gospel with believes you have a genuine interest in their well-being.
Sure, there will be times when you’ll feel prompted to share the gospel with a stranger or acquaintance directly. But equipping millennials in your church to start faith conversations is enormous.
Encourage them to ask questions such as:
“Do you believe in a god or God?”
“What do you think about religion?”
“Have you read the Bible before? What did you think?”
These simple questions only scratch the surface. But asking questions is a great way to encourage millennials to engage in conversations about faith.
Equip the millennials in your church to ask good questions and listen well. If they don’t know how to answer a question, let them know that’s okay. They can tell their friends, “I don’t know. But let me look into it for you.”
Here’s another practical idea:
Encourage millennials to share how Christianity is relevant to their everyday life.
From sharing how God is leading them to ways he’s influencing their life every day (forgiveness, reconciliation, overcoming sin), transparency goes a long way in deepening relationships, and it also helps non-Christians see how Jesus is real and relevant today.
#4 – Start a mercy ministry
The gospel is good news.
To share the gospel, we have to use words.
This doesn’t mean doing “good” deeds isn’t necessary.
Far from it.
Acts of mercy are an essential part of living and loving like Jesus. But we don’t want to confuse the gospel (good news) with the fruit of the gospel (love, kindness, feeding the poor, etc.).
With that being said, here’s one way you can lead millennials to build relationships with people in their community:
Start a mercy ministry.
Think about it.
When you help people in your community, you will naturally build relationships with people, which will place you in a better position to have faith conversations.
#5 – Model evangelism
As a church leader, you have to model evangelism.
As you know, most of what you share will be caught—not taught.
If you want to lead millennials to have more faith conversations, you and your leadership team will need to hit the pause button and take a long look in the mirror.
Do you regularly have faith conversations?
Do you want your church members to model your evangelistic behavior?
If you answered “no” to either one of these questions, then you’ll need to prayerfully consider whether you can serve as a better model. Remember, it’s hard to ask a millennial to do something that you don’t do yourself. They’ll sniff out your hypocrisy a mile away.
#6 – Share evangelistic stories
Sharing stories of God’s work goes a long way toward inspiring millennials to evangelize.
- Stories are relatable
- Stories help people “see” God’s work
- Stories are contagious
- Stories are memorable
- Stories are motivational
- Stories appeal to everyone
Don’t stop reading this if you don’t have an “epic” story to share.
Millennials aren’t interested in hearing something fit for the big screen. Instead, they want to listen to stories they can easily relate to in their everyday lives. As they see God at work in your church, they’ll become more inclined to share these experiences with their family and friends.
Not sure what to share?
Think about the answers to these questions:
- Did someone recently commit his or her life to Jesus?
- Is someone getting baptized?
- Have church members recently built new relationships?
- Can anyone share how they overcame the challenges of sharing the gospel?
As you share stories, you’ll inspire people to evangelize.
Know what else?
You’ll reinforce an evangelistic culture in your church. As a church, you will celebrate what you cultivate.
Over to you
Remember, evangelism training isn’t as easy as downloading software, recommending a book, or running a one-time program. It takes time to cultivate an evangelistic culture in your church, and for Christian millennials to grow in their ability and comfort in having faith conversations.