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Motivating millennials

FOCUSED: Leondre Douglas says that 18- to 35-year-olds have become disillusioned with the Church – but it doesn’t have to be that way

MILLENNIALS HAVE been described as the most informed, most qualified, most socially minded and media savvy generation that has walked this earth.

They are the generation that came of age in the era of social media, Google, YouTube, the smart phone and the tablet.

As a result, millennials want a church that has spiritual substance, is stimulating, enables them to use their giftings, and helps equip them with tools needed to fulfil their purpose.

In an attempt to support churches in providing these things and more for millennials, Leondre Douglas is launching Dioko on December 1.

This unique initiative will provide resources and organise activities that will help facilitate the discipleship and spiritual development of millennial Christians, whatever denomination or church they belong to.

Having been converted at 16 and spiritually nurtured in the New Testament Church of God Willesden, where he was given numerous speaking and preaching opportunities and by now serving as a youth leader at Trinity Baptist church in Croydon, Leondre is perfectly suited for the task of leading Dioko. He told Soul Stirrings: “The main reason I’m targeting millennials is because I am one myself and from conversations with friends it seems like there’s been a gap within Christian ministry in terms of that age demographic.”

Leondre, 30, is currently head of religious education and spiritual moral and cultural education at a Church of England secondary school in west London. He’s observed some key things about millennial Christians.

He found those attended university often experienced a tension between their faith and their academic learning, and were sometimes unable to relate the two and upon graduation were disengaged with their faith.

Then there were those who had grown up in a black church, but upon reaching adulthood felt they’d spiritually outgrown it and joined churches like Holy Trinity Brompton and Hillsong, which they felt offered more.

It is Leondre’s hope that Dioko will help black churches retain their millennials. He explained: “Dioko aims to help teach and support the practical development of Christians between the ages of 18-35.

“We have a devotional called Lamp and Light, which currently goes to 250 people, and the P27 network, which entails building up young leaders aged 18-35 by bringing them together to share thoughts and ideas.

“We’ll get more done if we work together.”

He continued: “There will also be Millennial Masterclass where a senior person or a millennial in ministry will share a masterclass on an area of ministry we think is important.

“Then there’s The Mask, a prayer gathering, and lastly, Gathering of Men and Women via the Mancave and Connected, where we aim to build a family of men and women who can edify each other.”

I asked Leondre, what he felt the church needed to understand about the young people in their midst. He responded with this. “Millennials want the church to understand that outside of the church we are doing a lot of stuff, and we are being recognised for it.

“We want to be recognised for it in the church, and be trusted and given opportunities to serve. We don’t want to fight against senior brethren, we want to work in tandem. We want your support.

“We respect where they come from. We don’t want to be babied. We want to be mentored. Don’t give us what we want. Give us what we need.”

Leondre is believing that Dioko will help to provide millennials with what they need, and he hopes that by this time next year his organisation will touch the lives of thousands – a task that is not impossible to achieve.

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