I think about it all the time. While I’m driving, praying, eating. I guess I can call it one of my little obsessions. It is the question, “How can we get more people involved in church life.
Well, understand I am not the only person on this church asking that same question. We as a whole are not the only church asking that question. As a person who needs to know the facts, I have turned to a group of researchers who have already explored these questions. They are called The Barna Group. In its 30-year history, Barna Group has conducted more than one million interviews over the course of hundreds of studies, and has become a go-to source for insights about faith and culture, leadership and vocation, and generations. Barna Group has carefully and strategically tracked the role of faith in America, developing one of the nation’s most comprehensive databases of spiritual indicators. Barna Group has worked with thousands of business, nonprofit organizations and churches across the U.S. and around the world, including many protestant denominations, Catholic parishes, and faith leaders. Some of its notable clients have included the Salvation Army, World Vision, Compassion, the American Bible Society, and Habitat for Humanity. It has also served mainstream business and non-profit leaders at organizations like Sony, Walden Media, Easter Seals, CARE, the ONE Campaign, the Humane Society, the Gates Foundation, and NBC Universal. The firm’s studies are frequently cited in sermons and talks, and its public opinion research is often quoted in major media outlets such as CNN, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, the New York Times, Dallas Morning News, and the Los Angeles Times.
Their research always surprises me. Here is a statistic I feel we can work with.
Millennial Non-Christians Show Greater Spiritual Curiosity Than Older Adults
Despite the growing indifference toward Christianity, especially among young people, there appears to be a spiritual curiosity among Millennials. Barna’s recent report Reviving Evangelism, shows that Millennials report many more faith conversations or even evangelistic encounters than older non-Christians. For at least some young adults, there appears to be deeper interest in spirituality in general, and in Christianity specifically. This statistic appeared as a research release in the magazine Faith and Christianity, 2019.
What is a millennial? According to the US Census Bureau, they were born between 1982 and 2000. They are the largest generation in the workforce because of their birth years. Millennials are the children of the baby boomers and are also called the Generation Y or Gen Y. They possess several qualities and characteristics different from the past generations. And although the characteristics of a millennial varies on the culture and environment, they grew up in; these are the common characteristics of millennials today.
- Millennials are Often Optimistic About the Future
- They Love Social Networking
- They are Tech-Savvy
- They Believe in Work-Life Balance (prioritizing family over work).
- They are Goal-Oriented
- They Want Recognition (feeling valued).
- Millennials Love to Multitask
- They Have an Entrepreneurial Spirit
- They Like Adventures
- They are Educated
I feel these are some great attributes, and I am sure you do also. As you read this list of qualities, imagine them being put to work in our modern day churches. I, along with many others in our church, are serious about considering these characteristics and putting them to work for the good of our world. Our older church folks have so much to share with this generation and they will embrace your thoughts and visions. So look out! Expect some changes at Emmanuel UCC. Changes for the good of all of us.
Yours in Christ,