Ever wonder if you will be able to continue to communicate effectively to younger people as you get older?

I hate that the church world seems to suggest you have to be young to communicate well to young people.

So I put together the top 10 ways to communicate to and engage millennial…ensuring your future as a communicator. (This stuff works in any setting.)

  1. Be Yourself.
  2. Be Concise.
  3. Communicate Purpose.
  4. Speak To Their Dreams.
  5. Be Transparent And Share Your Story.
  6. Inspire Them To Help Others.
  7. Speak Relationally.
  8. Talk About The Why.
  9. Define The Main Point Clearly.
  10. Make Your Message Flow.

The above are ten things you have to be thinking about when communicating to millennials, but the most important thing to focus on in communication to millennials is this: focus on authenticity.


  1. Be Yourself.
  2. Do Your Talk.
  3. Be Emotionally Authentic.
  4. Be Intellectually Authentic.

Great communicators aren’t born. Every communicator you wish you could speak like works hard on their craft. They think about it all the time. That’s how they got there. You can get there too.

Your voice matters.

Josh Ott is lead pastor at Grace Free Church in Cressona, PA. He is also a speaker, coach and creator of the The Speaking Course for Pastors, Speakers and Church Leaders.

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Like most pastors, I desperately want to see every person connected with our church being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Unfortunately, I found that most of our approaches to discipleship led to being informed, but not transformed. Most of what I read, and most of the people that I listened to seemed to believe that information would lead to transformation. So everything we did when it came to training was about teaching people and hoping they would apply the lessons that we taught.

A few people would apply the truths that we shared, however most of our people remained spectators, and understood the life of Jesus, but failed to live it. We came to the conclusion that discipleship needed to be not just informational, but must also include healthy lifestyle rhythms that we would hold each other accountable to walk in.

One particular book that was helpful as we tried to process healthy rhythms for discipleship was Surprise the World by Michael Frost. Because it’s rarely a wise move to copy and paste rhythm‘s for discipleship from one context to another we thought through the contents of the book and then came up with some of our own rhythms that we knew would be helpful to our people. We use these rhythms in huddles of 2 to 4 people of the same sex and allow them to shape dialogue over coffee or lunch and hold each other accountable to living this way of life. Here’s what we came up with:

We use the acronym REACH.

REST – I am going to slow down and rest with God today through prayer and listening/meditation on truth. What is God saying to me? How is he calling me to live into His words?

EAT/ENGAGE – I will eat with and engage people relationally this week. Who am I eating/hanging out with? Does this include people from outside of the church? This could be a meal, cup of coffee, golfing, watching a sporting event, etc. anything that builds relationships.

ACT OF LOVE – I will bless others/be a blessing to others this week by doing something loving. Am I blessing people within my community? Am I blessing people outside of our community?

CONFESS – I will confess to someone this week some area in my life where I feel like I fell short, screwed up, or am frustrated with myself. Humility bonds us.

HOME – We will grow as a family this week (This could include your family, roommate, or close friends). Here are some ways to grow as a family: learn something together, bless someone together, have a family fun night, have a date night, ditch the technology, eat at the dinner table.

We have found that these types of meaningful conversations in smaller huddles of people creates an energy around living a dynamic sort of life that is entirely shaped around imitating the lifestyle of Jesus.

For the past four years we’ve hosted a training (Missional Action Group School) to help individuals and churches think strategically and intentionally about discipleship and mission. This is not just a training, but also an experience. We enjoy creating an atmosphere where we can dialogue around these topics, eat good food, and allow people to connect relationally.

MAG School is not only an opportunity for a one-time training, but an invitation to a longer journey as friends who are attempting to make disciples and reach people who don’t know Jesus. We provide coaching for anyone who is attempting to be more effective in their local mission field.

Mark Fesmire had this to say about our coaching, “Any paradigm shift requires intentional focus.  After hearing 3 different presentations on missional living and small groups I was very motivated to create a missional group. But I didn’t manage to create a group that was missional. When I asked to be coached, the steady conversations helped peal back the layers of my old paradigm allowing me to look at what I am doing now with fresh eyes. I keep learning in each conversation.  I would say from my experience that without consistent coaching it is impossible to break entrenched patterns. I firmly believe in the coaching process for anyone attempting to lead a missional small group or trying to help numerous small groups form.”

If you are interested in being a part of our MAG School this year on April 13-14 please contact me at michaeljarrell@me.com. The cost includes the training and most of your food, but we don’t want cost to be a reason you can’t make it, so let me know if that is prohibiting you from attending and we’ll see what we can work out!

Mike Jarrell was a youth director in the Philadelphia area for a few years and loves teens. He left youth ministry convinced that the best way to impact teens is to reach families. Mike then became the senior lead pastor at Cornerstone Christian Church in Duncannon PA. After about 5 years at Cornerstone, Mike and his family followed God to start a missional church in Enola, PA. The Narrow Road Church has been around for 3 years. NRC is a movement of missional communities that follow Jesus on mission and grow in community.


Near the end of our recent All Peoples East Gathering in Charlotte, a man got up and made a presentation about hinge moments. Do you know what a hinge moment is?

Using a case study from a church in Birmingham, Alabama this man taught us about hinge moments. Though not an EFCA congregation, the church he spoke of was from another solid evangelical denomination. It was located in the center of what is now referred to as the Civil Rights District. Having started in the 1920’s by a pastor who was a transplant from California, the church initially had a profound impact in the community.

In addition to leading many people to Christ, they had a soup kitchen to help feed the poor, they had launched their own radio station and even opened a bible college. Incredibly, they had done this work in Birmingham with both white and black people. Imagine that for a minute – integrated ministry in Birmingham before the civil rights movement! God was clearly doing a beautiful work.

Then, in 1953, the founding pastor had some “friends” reach out to advise him he was about to encounter some really tough times with the a growing civil rights movement. They suggested someone with his talents and skills should consider taking his talents elsewhere…kinda like the pastoral version of when Lebron James took his to Miami. So off he went to another church far away from Birmingham.

Looking back on the history of the church, people say that it was like a spirit of fear came over him. Consequently, the same thing happened to the church. Whereas they had boldly ministered to both black and white people with great impact, the next couple of pastors and leaders gave into fear and eventually stopped trying altogether.

One Sunday morning, Martin Luther King and about 30 others from his movement showed up at the front door of the church. The pastor and others showed Dr. King and his friends their guns and told them they weren’t welcome.

That was a hinge moment. It was the defining moment when the people in the church openly and brazenly allowed the spirit of the age to be more compelling to them than the Spirit of Christ. For decades following this moment, the ministry suffered. Their weekly attendance dwindled from 1500 to 70, the building became dilapidated, and their witness in the community to both whites and blacks was lost. Everything measurable seemed to cry, “Ichabod!”

Then, in the mid 2000’s, a pastor came who had a heart to do ministry for God’s glory among all the people groups in the community. Slowly, things improved, but it just seemed to be such a grind that the pastor brought in an outside ministry to consult them to see what they could do to get over this invisible hump. The pastor and other leaders refused to accept that God was finished with this church.

Together, the church leaders and the para-church organization did a historic survey of the church and discovered the terrible event with Dr. King. They agreed that this was indeed a hinge moment. The departure of the pastor in 1953 had begun a downward trend, but that moment with Dr. King needed to be repented for thoroughly and publicly.

The pastor and leaders called for a solemn assembly and repented corporately for the church’s sinful past. Then they wrote an article that was published in the two leading papers in the city. The letter was an expression of open and heartfelt repentance. Additionally, they contacted individuals and businesses in order to make things right with them. They repented for allowing the spirit of fear to control the ministry. This repentance was another hinge moment.

Today they are once again doing effective ministry in their community. They minister in a way that glorifies Christ with all kinds of people. This no longer means just white and black people, but immigrants and refugees, as well as to members of the LGBTQ community. The church stands as an incredible testimony to the power of God and of repentance that time and space won’t allow for here. 

The point of this post is this… hinge moments are those rare moments in life and ministry when things essentially change. Directions are changed. Moods and outlooks are different than they were before. 

Hinge moments are real and they are sometimes necessary.

We are in a season right now where the greatest of all hinge moments is remembered – Christmas. Looking back on history, that moment changed everything.

Maybe you need to slowly study your your ministry for past hinge moments? Maybe its time for a new hinge moment?

What is true for ministry is also true for us as people. We all have hinge moments in our lives. Maybe we need some new ones?

If nothing else, thank God for the hinge moment of our Lord’s incarnation and our salvation.




Despite its self-contradiction, the principle that exclusive, objective truth is unknowable has gained much traction in younger generations today. Our postmodern age has indoctrinated specifically the millennial generation with claims such as, “the truth is relative,” and, “what’s true for you may not be true for me.” But Jesus said that all His disciples, “will know the truth” (John 8:32). He even called Himself, “the Truth,” at the exclusion of all other options (John 14:6).

Claims like these are scandalous today where exclusive declarations of truth are considered unloving, unfair, and outright false. However, the problem with our postmodern concept of truth is that it leads people to relativism, insecurity, and eventually causes them to feel lost and unfulfilled in the middle of a truth-less sea. Thankfully, Jesus did not support our modern conception of truth. Jesus spoke of a type of truth that leads to an objective, confident, satisfied life—that being, the life of a person who has heard and seen, in the living Word of God, that Jesus is the culmination of their quest for truth.

Among the many distinctives that set apart Jesus’ disciples, Jesus lists one key distinctive that will prove helpful here. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31b-32). In other words, followers of Jesus will abide in His word, and in doing so come to know the freeing truth. Thus, to discuss how a Christian can help this truth decayed generation come to the light, I want to share a couple of marks of a disciple who is abiding in God’s word. These are true for millennials just like every other generation.

Stranded in the middle of a truth-less sea, many millennials are struggling and taking on water, since their refuge has been hidden from them. However, Jesus speaks a word of hope to their drowning souls. Jesus says, “If you abide in my word… you will know the truth” (John 8:32). When a person is drowning, all they want is a refuge, a place to grab onto, or better yet be grabbed by, that is strong enough to secure their deliverance from the rising waters. This refuge, Jesus says, is His word.

God’s word confronts our relative society by proclaiming that there is one objective, exclusive, wonderful truth—Jesus Christ Himself, “and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Thus, an insistence on God’s Word will equip and inform younger generations that relativistic, postmodern thought is not good news, despite how appealing it may sound.

Not only does the Word of God equip younger generations to reject unhelpful relativism, it also provides a spiritually thirsty, insecure generation with a confident, satisfied hope in Christ. After Jesus tells His disciples that in His word they will find and know the truth, He informs them that the truth will set them free (see John 8:32). For those who are captive to the 21st century lies about where people can find their satisfaction—whether that be in a significant other, money, or human praise; God’s Word informs us that true, lasting satisfaction is only found in a total surrender to Jesus as Lord (see John 6).

While our society tells us to look inward to find our security, Jesus instructs us to do quite the opposite. The quest for security that looks inward often leads to insecurity, but Jesus gives the hope of confidence and security because He promises freedom based on His own merit and not our own. Jesus says, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). To the insecure, unfulfilled younger generation, God’s word provides a confident and satisfied hope found in Christ alone.

While the contemporary postmodern movement has only led people to be insecure, unconfident and unsatisfied, the Word of God provides the hope we need. While some may say the Bible is an antiquated book, the truth is that, “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12a). So, for anyone aspiring to encourage younger generations, take Jesus’ advice and never stop insisting on His living, sufficient and unbreakable Word. In doing so, many will come to be secure and satisfied in the objective, exclusive, wonderful Truth Himself.


Coleman Rafferty is a Sophomore Biblical and Religious studies major at Messiah College. He was born in Massachusetts and raised in Northern Virginia as the youngest of three brothers. He came to faith in Jesus Christ during his junior year of high school, and has felt a passion to teach God’s Word ever since. He spends his spare time reading good books, playing sports with his friends and engaging in theological discussion with all who are willing, and some who are not.


Think about this…

  • Steph Curry has a shooting coach.
  • Serena Williams has a tennis coach.
  • Mariah Carey has a voice coach.
  • Jordan Spieth has a swing coach.

Do you look at that list and wonder, “Why?” Who is qualified to teach them how to get better? I certainly do.

Good things come to those who commit to being coached. Whether it’s in sports, music, or ministry, each of us needs to be in either relationships or learning communities where there is coaching, accountability and encouragement so that we an continue to grow and improve.

How about you? Are you in any environments or relationships where people are invited to offer you suggestions on how to grow and improve?  If not, I encourage you, begin to pray and ask God to lead you so that you can have that. Seek it out from people who are fruitful and have skills or insights you need at this season of life.

I’ve been praying and hoping our district conference coming up in October will open up some opportunities for those types of connections. But you don’t need to wait until October. Contact us in the district office (office@edaefca.org) and let us know how we can help you or your leaders think about personal and ministry growth.

And by the way, here’s an invitation from Mike Jarrell, the Creo East Missional Director:

This Friday I am getting together with a couple of guys in our district to discuss three things in particular:

  1.  How to multiply everything: disciples, leaders, communities, churches, and movements.
  2. How to live more intentionally on the mission of Jesus and send/join our people on mission.
  3. How to make disciples who understand how to use their gifts in community and on mission

One of the things I am privileged to do is encourage other pastors of both established churches and church plants as they seek to make disciples, live on mission, and plant new churches. I have a passion for coaching because I’ve met so many pastors who feel alone on the journey, and could use some direction, conversation, and accountability around being intentional to see disciples multiplied and lost people reached in their communities.

If you feel alone on the journey of making disciples, feel stuck in how to equip believers in your communities to use their gifts on mission, or don’t quite know how to engage the lost culture around you that doesn’t seem to want to come to your church services, I would love to connect with you.

I would like to offer either a community of mutual accountability and ongoing training, regular coaching, or both. I will be leading a breakout session at our Eastern District conference and I would love to connect with you.