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How To Effectively Lead Millennials On Your Church Staff

By: Maggie Richter, Vanderbloemen Search Group

It's becoming apparent that millennials are occupying a majority of our workforce today, especially as the baby boomers approach retirement.

This eager, technology-proficient, and undeniably motivated generation is throwing some old-fashioned companies for a loop as they try to adapt to the changing demands of a new working demographic. In the CBS article "The Millennials Are Coming," ad agency executive and "Generation Y" expert Marian Salzman says about millennials: "Some of them are the greatest generation. They're more hardworking. They have these tools to get things done [...] They are enormously clever and resourceful.”

Whether or not your current staff identifies with this demographic, chances are in the near future you will be hiring people that do. If this is a significant change for your church body, it's important to avoid seeing it as a burden. Instead, see it as an opportunity to grow as a church, grow as a staff, and expand the reach of your ministry.

Here are 3 tips to effectively lead and equip the millennials on your church staff:

1. Establish a strong staff culture.

It is arguable that for millenials, one of the most – if not THE most – important aspect of any job is the company culture. Working in ministry, this concept is especially important because it facilitates healthy, sustainable relationships to be built among the staff, leading to an altogether more team-focused and Christ-like environment. But how does a staff build and maintain a great staff culture?

A strong company culture is established from the top-down, and it should be based on the values you establish as a church or team. Church leaders, make sure to be constantly checking the condition of your staff culture, creating a team environment and cohesive unit that is working for one common goal: furthering the Kingdom. Steer clear of highlighting hierarchical divisions or treating those under your leadership as subservient. Millennials desire to be celebrated for their unique contributions and long to be a vital part of a team or cause they are passionate about. Constantly bring attention to your church’s or staff’s core values and think of ways to continually live those out as a team.

2. Avoid being a micromanager.

Millennials enjoy being able to run with any project you throw at them and having the freedom to problem-solve and create without being corrected every step of the way. While working together is important on any church staff, assume that your younger staff will also be looking for opportunities to prove themselves and their unique gifts as individuals. Try taking a step back and trusting that God has equipped each staff member on your team. While it may seem risky to give up some control, it will be highly rewarding and will contribute greatly to your staff culture. You will not be disappointed with the ingenuity and resourcefulness of this generation!

3. Encourage passion.

Millennials thrive when they are inspired by a cause, whether that is an everyday hobby or the mission of your church. Look for ways to inspire the millennials on your staff, and they will be devoted to your cause. The 2013 Millennial Impact Report highlights this general characteristic: "Millennials first support causes they are passionate about (rather than institutions), so it’s up to organizations to inspire them and show them that their support can make a tangible difference on the wider issue." According to the same study, over 80% of millennial respondents made a financial gift to an organization in 2012. This demonstrates their incredible passion for the causes they believe in.

If you are lucky enough to find yourself hiring someone whose priorities are also strongly aligned to the mission of your church, do not miss this opportunity by worrying where exactly they will fit in your ministry. An employee who is passionate about your mission will be beneficial for your church in any capacity. One of the best qualities of millennials is their ability to adapt and grow, so don’t worry as much about the specific position they will be placed in, but instead on their potential and what they will do with it.

What ideas do you have for leading the millennials on your church staff?

This article was provided by our church executive search partner, Vanderbloemen Search Group. To learn more about Vanderbloemen Search Group's recruiting services and how they can help you fill your open position, click here. To read more insightful articles on Vanderbloemen's blog, click here.

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