Leadership

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The millennials ... they are the young couples and parents you are trying to reach. They are currently 18 to 33 years old. And like each generation, they have their own unique characteristics and ideologies. 

If you’re going to be effective, here are 10 critical things you need to know about the millennials:

1. They are keeping their distance from marriage. Only 26 percent are married, compared to 36 percent of Generation X, 48 percent of baby boomers and 65 percent of the members of the Silent Generation at the same age.

2. They are digital natives. Technology is not something they’ve had to adapt to. It’s all they’ve ever known. Eighty-one percent of millennials are on Facebook.  

3. Millennials are the most racially diverse generation in American history.
This is driven by the large number of immigrants who have been coming to the U.S. for the past half-century whose U.S.-born children are now aging into adulthood.

4. Millennials have low levels of trust. Only 19 percent of millennials say most people can be trusted, compared with 31 percent of Gen-Xers, 37 percent of Silents and 40 percent of boomers.

5. They are facing economic challenges. Millennials are the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations (Gen-Xers and boomers) had at the same stage of their life cycles.

6. Millennials are the best-educated group of young adults in American history.

7. Millennials lead all generations in of out-of-wedlock births. In 2012, 47 percent of births to women in the millennial generation were nonmarital.

8. They are liberal in their views of social issues, such as same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization. 

9. Millennials are less religious than previous generations. Not only are they less likely than older generations to be affiliated with any religion, but they are also less likely to say they believe in God.

10. They are not tied to institutions or denominations. They do not attend a Methodist or Baptist church just because that is what they grew up in. Church labels are not what attracts them.

So, what does this list mean for your ministry? Here are some thoughts:

  • We must continue to hold up God’s golden standard for marriage while at the same time meeting people where they are and giving them steps toward God’s plan for the home.  
  • Instead of asking people to behave and believe before they can belong, give them room to belong before they believe and behave.
  • Use technology to communicate and connect with them.
  • Champion and reflect racial diversity.
  • Have a ministry of integrity. Earn their trust.
  • Offer financial planning and counseling for young families.
  • Be a place that welcomes, loves and meets the needs of single parents. 
  • Speak the truth in love. You can’t minister effectively without the balance of both.
  • Be more concerned with what’s happening inside your church than with what the sign on the outside of your church says.

All of these characteristics add up to one thing: We have an incredible opportunity to reach young families and couples with the gospel. They are open and receptive to the real thing. They are not looking for religion, but they are looking for a relationship. 

We have the answer ... it’s Jesus! The gospel works if we will work the gospel. God wants to use your ministry to reach them. Let’s get busy!

As you read this list of millennial characteristics, what are some other things we must do to reach young families?

Share your thoughts with us the comment section below.

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children’s ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Fla. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children’s ministry. He is the co-author of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry. Visit Dale at relevantchildrensministry.com.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

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