Eight Innovations to Leading Millennials: How Millennials Can Grow Your Church and Change the World

By Benjamin Windle
Cheadle, Cheshire, United Kingdom: The Thrive Co. (2019)
Kindle edition, 101 pages


The Thrive Co. and author Benjamin Windle have made a significant contribution to church growth literature by giving practical ideas on how millennials can impact the world and the church. As it is known, many young people are leaving the church. “It is time to unleash a new wave of innovation, progress, and dare I say, experimentation with our ministry models. We have to try new things” (p. 15).

Understanding and knowing the people we are working with is one key to success. The world is changing at the speed of light. In fact, thanks to technology, it has been completely revolutionized. “Technology has permeated every area of our lives and become central to how we live, work and socialize” (p. 31). We have to be acquainted with it. Unfortunately, the church hasn’t been able to follow this revelational trend. “As a result, many millennials have lost respect for the church because sometimes our values and actions have not been aligned with each other” (p. 39).

Let us explore the eight innovations to leading millennials given by Windle.

Innovation 1: Technology and Social Media

Technology has conquered the new world, and the conquerors are the millennials. “Technology has shaped their thinking, facilitated communication, redefined community, become core to their learning, and become almost like a companion to them, which is extraordinary” (p. 45). Looking at this, one can recognize that resisting technology is resisting the new generation. It is taking away what they cherish most. “Millennials don’t want a ‘cool church’ . . . They want something they can relate too” (p. 51).

Innovation 2: Relational Leadership Style

Many leaders believe that leadership is all about power. Unfortunately, this mindset does not work with the millennials. “Authoritative power does not connect with millennials—relationship does” (p. 53). It is crucial to work and invest in genuine relationships. People are the most important thing. “Leading millennials is more about being the guide on the side, not a sage on a stage. It is about sitting next to rather than in front of.” (p. 57). We need to be servant leaders.

Innovation 3: Collaborative Structure

Structures are at the very center of the church. Changing them may be very hard and may bring some frictions. But if we want to connect with millennials, we need to change. “Millennials are team-oriented and collaborative, and resist structure” (p. 58). This statement says a lot. Instead of sitting and giving orders, we are to relate and work as a team.

Innovation 4: Dynamic Events

Every year, leaders put much time and effort into creating a church plan—but often that plan does not include millennials’ basic needs. “Church calendars, programs, and schedules need to be reinvented for a new world” (p. 66). There is a need for adaptation and inclusion. “Discipleship is not about growing a big church. It is about growing big people” (p. 67). Programming should be geared to bring out the potential of millennials. This can be done by creating events that meet their inmost need.

Innovation 5: Depth of Spiritual Discipleship

Most times, we say that young people want nothing to do with spiritual things. “Millennials are biblically illiterate, but passionate about learning” (p. 70). We need to know how to share biblical knowledge in their own language and context. We need to be more intensive and go deeper. In fact, you need “to be a sheep yourself, even smelling like sheep.” (p.70). This is true discipleship.

Innovation 6: Facilities

The place we provide for worship service is very important. Since it is one of the communication tools, we need to really work on that. The author says that we need to provide what technology cannot. “Church facilities cannot be simply functional—they must be culturally experimental” (pg. 75). Church facilities must provide things that satisfy millennials’ deepest needs, allowing them to feel loved and have a sense of belonging.

Innovation 7: Leadership in Finance

We are living in a world of consumerism. And “millennials are the most consumeristic generation in history.” The great companies have recognized that and thus have fashioned and designed shopping for them. When we reach the millennials, they can contribute and support the church financially. “The millennials generation wants to see where and how their money will make a difference in a bringing about unity” (p. 81).

Innovation 8: Social Rather than Political

Most churches put much emphasis on principles and doctrines. “Instead of making specific political statements, consider focusing on justice issues, like feeding the poor, eradicating sex trafficking, helping orphans, helping those in poverty, etc.” (p. 84). In fact, these are things that are related to the millennials. “By effectively reaching and leading millennials, you have the power to grow your church for future generations . . .” (p. 87). Knowing millennials, understanding the way they live, and reaching out to them are keys to reconnecting with them and revitalizing the church and the world.

I really loved this little book. It is very well structured and practical. The issue under discussion is real and pertinent; we are all dealing with it. As a millennial, Windle speaks on things that he has gone through, and I could see that the book has a millennial touch. I highly recommend this book. If you are thinking of reaching out to millennials and the younger generations, this is the right book for you. It is simple and easy to understand. “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever” (Eccl. 1:4, NKJV).

IVANILDO ALMEIDA LOPES is the district pastor for the Cape Verdean Community of the Southern New England Conference, Boston, Massachusetts.

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