Your church’s mission is to spread the word of God far and wide, and that means welcoming new members to your church family. If you’re working on growing an engaged church, you already have a lot of truly invested and involved members who are working to further the whole ministry.
But does that include some younger members, too?
Of course! It’s important to reach out to that younger demographic. Over time, it can lead to growing new families in your neighborhood, and give them a place to find you and connect in their daily lives as they become the next generation of your church ministry.
Today, we want to talk about that 18-35 age bracket; the people independently joining the church, seeking God, looking to connect on their own.
Your church website is going to be one of the first (and most important) ways they reach out to you––so we’ve gathered up some resources and ideas to consider as you think about their journey in your online ministry.
1. Make sure you can be found.
Even if your church already has an online presence, you still need to make it easy for young, tech-savvy people to find you. One of the best ways to do this is by using the best practices of search engine optimization (SEO). The primary goal of implementing SEO strategies is to get your church website to come up on the first page when doing a Google search.
It is imperative that younger potential church members are able to find you by doing a quick search. 71 percent of search clicks happen on the first page of Google. If they can't find you on the first page, they most likely won't find you at all.
2. Be ready for on-the-go engagement.
100 percent of people ages 18-29 own a cell phone, and 94 percent own a smart phone.
If your website isn't already optimized for mobile, it needs to be.
“Going mobile” improves the chances that younger members will find your church website is because smartphone users are ready to connect online all throughout the day. They use their smartphone while watching television, commuting on the train, socializing, and even while using the computer. In fact, 39 percent of young adults say they are "almost constantly online."
If you want to be sure your website is mobile-friendly, simply ask yourself the following questions:
Is the content easy to read?
Does the website load quickly?
Is the website easy to navigate?
Are all buttons and CTAs easy to press?
Do forms load well or do they extend off the screen?
If you can say yes to all of these questions, you have a mobile-friendly website that will attract younger potential church members and keep them connected!
2. Embrace the recent trends.
Once you attract young new members with your website, you can also keep them actively engaged and interested in your online ministry. To help you achieve this goal, here are some recent visual and content trends you'll want to implement when it comes to website design:
- Use animations to add emphasis to important details and add pizzazz to your website.
- Use more images and videos to capture viewer attention and enhance sermon sharing.
- Use one coherent design for all aspects of your church as a way to build trust, create unity, and establish your brand.
- Make navigation as easy as possible for the different groups of people you are trying to target.
- Use "smart content" that gets automatically updated when someone visits your site from the first time to the next.
- Display social media feeds, but make sure these channels get updated as often as possible.
By embracing these content and visual trends, you will grab the attention of your young potential members, provide a way for them to stay connected, and keep them engaged as they get more involved in your church.
3. If it can be done online, do it online.
Nowadays, it’s becoming a bit old fashioned to carry a checkbook. In some cases, it’s even a bit old fashioned to carry cash!
Whether it's giving, filling out a volunteer form, or updating member contact information, you'll want to make sure it can be done online. Doing so will not only attract younger members, it will help foster connection and relationships as your younger members grow in their faith.
According to this Forbes article, “How 5 Leading Youth Brands Are Disrupting Today’s Market,” this demographic interacts with brands and organizations online in a unique way.
"These brands span a wide range of industries, but they have a few things in common. Their content is relevant, entertaining, engaging and understands the generation’s voice.”
To be “relevant, entertaining, engaging, and understanding” of your younger members, you'll especially want to keep up with the latest technology and the topics that matter to them. Speak to them honestly, openly, and listen to their feedback through surveys and simple questions to get a better understanding of how and when they truly want to connect with your church!
This is especially true when it comes to tithes and offering. One great way to “listen” to the tech-savvy generation is to use an online-giving platform and text-to-give that truly allow them to support your church when they feel most called.
Many younger adults are searching for meaning and purpose in their life. They want to feel like they belong and that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Using your church website is a great way to reach out to them and show them they can have a home with you. Not only will you be meeting their current needs, you will be providing them with a future full of faith and connection.
As your church family expands, we know you will continue to have a lot of demands on your role as a church communicator. You might enjoy our eBook, The Church Communicator’s Survival Guide: 7 Tools to Use Every Day, to help make your job a little easier.