Meet the millennials
by Daniel Ausbun, First Baptist Church, Moreland
There are six living generations in the United States.
The smallest is the Greatest Generation, those born before 1927. This generation built America, lived through the Great Depression, fought in World War II and is loyal to church and family. The youngest members of the Greatest Generation turn 88-years-old this year, and our country is suffering without their leadership and wisdom.
The Silent Generation was born between 1927 and 1945, during the Great Depression and World War II. Fifty million Americans were born during this period. This generation is also known as the Traditionalists.
They fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars. They’re the most-wealthy generation in U.S. history, were loyal to their jobs and marriages and created the suburbs.
The Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. Seventy-eight million Americans were born during this period. The Baby Boomers began to change America. They rejected the religious truths taught by their parents.
Divorce and homosexuality became acceptable, and Boomers began acquiring record amounts of debt.
Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980. Forty-six million Americans were born as a generation known as the Latch-key Generation. This is my generation – we grew up with drugs, AIDS and divorced parents.
This generation still remembers school without computers.
The Millennials, also known as Generation Y, was born between 1981 and 2000. This is the largest U.S. generation with 80 million Americans born during this time. The Millennial Generation was raised in a digital environment and gets their socialization from the internet.
They aren’t impressed with the internet, because it’s always been around. Their smartphone is always with them, always. They’re not impressed with political parties. Fifty percent identify themselves as independents.
Generation Z is anyone born from 2001 until now. This is the most-diverse generation among U.S. births. Generation Z’s most-common last name is Rodriguez.
Churches must give attention at reaching the Millennials. They’re between 14- and 33-years-old and will change our country and our churches unlike any other generation. Eighty-six percent of Millennials believe in God, yet only 15 percent are Christians.
“Church-as-usual” is no longer effective at reaching this generation. Here are three solutions to reaching this young adult generation:
• First, Millennials value family. This generation has the 24-year-old still living with his parents. The greatest influence in a Millennials’ life is her parents.
Moms and dads, you can share the Gospel with your Millennial son and he’ll listen.
• Second, Millennials aren’t interested in “learning” about God. They’re wired 24/7 and can “learn” anything with their Google or Wikipedia app. They want to meet people with a radical commitment to Christ.
They’re impressed with retirees who leave for the mission field as a “second career.” They take notice of a testimony at church how Christ changed someone’s life. They’re looking for churches to invest outside the walls. Texts and status updates hold little weight.
• Third, Millennials are looking for churches that preach Christ.
They aren’t impressed with strobe lights and fog machines – already seen plenty of YouTube videos. Nor are they impressed with Christ-less, self-help sermons.
This generation, more so than any other, recognizes the cultural costs of being a Christian. It’s no longer the cool thing to do. They don’t want to hear from another Christian wearing a fake plastic smile. They want to know how it is you live out the Christian life in this messy world.
Millennials are poised for revival.
They’ve yet to see a great religious movement, such as Billy Graham crusades. All spiritual awakenings have included large numbers of young people turning to Christ.
Many parts of the world are experiencing Gospel advance. If churches want to experience spiritual renewal, it must include America’s largest generation, the Millennials.