How millennial are you? If you were born between 1980 and 2000, just based on your birth date, you might automatically answer, “One hundred percent millennial.” But for the rest of us Builders, Boomers, and Busters (Gen Xers), the Pew Research Center designed a survey to help each one of us, both young and old, to answer the question “How millennial are you?”1 I was shocked to discover that I’m more millennial than most Millennials! My score was 90/100.2 As a middle-of-the-road Baby Boomer, I should have scored in the teens. Here are three contributors to my high score:
- I watched less than one hour of television in the last 24 hours. Apparently, I have a lot in common with Millennials but for different reasons. They are watching video on demand and YouTube. I’m so busy, I don’t watch anything.
- I have created my own social networking profile. I’m engaged with social media, courtesy of an interactive Bible study I teach. It took the insistence of my media coach before I finally launched into the surreal world of social media. In contrast, most Millennials live in the world of social media 24/7.
- I sent and received more than 50 text messages in the past 24 hours. In reality, I barely made that score—my exact number was 51. Many Millennials probably sent and received hundreds of text messages in the same 24-hour period.
With a score of 90/100 on the Pew Research Center test, I might fool myself into thinking that I am perfectly in tune with the Millennial generation. But I would be sorely mistaken. My two Millennial sons would gladly testify that I have much to learn.
That’s why our lead article in this month’s Ministry is so valuable. We have heard many anecdotal reports about Millennials leaving Christian churches en masse, but Clint Jenkin and A. Allan Martin give us some reasons for their departure and also offer practical suggestions for connecting or reconnecting with Millennials. Citing the research of David Kinnaman, the authors note six grievances that Millennials have with The Adventist Church: intolerant of doubt, elitist in its relationships, antiscience in its beliefs, overprotective of its members, shallow in its teachings, and repressive of differences. Rather than simply reinforcing these grievances, Jenkin and Martin offer several practical suggestions for creating a positive church environment for Millennials: intergenerational relationships, a culture of forgiveness and acceptance, and platforms for sharing one’s spiritual journey—both the struggles and the joys.
These are simple suggestions, but the authors are convinced that they will work. We’d like to hear from you. What is your experience either as a Millennial yourself or building bridges of understanding and community with Millennials in your congregation?
We would like to receive more manuscripts from young leaders. You might be tempted to think that your limited years of ministry experience disqualify you from writing for a professional journal, but you’re mistaken. You bring fresh ideas and new perspectives. We can learn from each other. In fact, we must learn from each other.
One lesson our editorial team has learned from Millennials is that we need to explore a variety of delivery systems for our journal. Encouraged by our Millennial technology manager, we launched a fully digital version of Ministry in January 2014. The response from our subscribers has been overwhelmingly positive. Digital delivery of the journal makes it more accessible to Christian leaders around the world. If you have a regular subscription to Ministry, you can go online and request a complimentary digital version. Just follow the instructions on our Web site at www.ministrymagazine.org.
Our goal is simple: to reach as many as possible with the good news about Jesus Christ—every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, including Millennials.
1 “How Millennial Are You?” Pew Research Center, accessed March 24, 2014, http://www.pewresearch.org/quiz/how-millennial -are-you/.
2 The average Millennial scored 73/100.