New Video Series: Millennial Trends and the Church Blog Feature
Marian V. Liautaud

By: Marian V. Liautaud on February 18, 2016

Print/Save as PDF

New Video Series: Millennial Trends and the Church

Events | Millennials

video-series-millennial-trends-the-churchMillennials, born between 1984 and 2002, came into a world of rapid cultural change. In the video series, “Millennial Trends and the Church,” Roxanne Stone, vice president of publishing for Barna Group, discusses the seismic shifts that have radically affected the way Millennials view the world, and what the church can do to respond.

Drawing from Barna’s extensive database of research on Millennials, including findings from Making Space for Millennials, a co-published CKN/Barna report commissioned by Aspen Group, Stone unpacks the significance of three key defining factors of the Millennial experience: access, alienation, and authority.

Access

With the world literally at their fingertips, Millennials have grown up with total access to information. Our society continues to feed this entitlement by providing on-demand access to virtually everything—online education, on-demand TV, free shipping, Siri, Google, and so on. “To be denied access to something feels fundamentally wrong to Millennials,” says Stone.

At the same time, all of this access leads to information overload. Millennials say they struggle to find relief from the constant, 24/7 pressure to stay connected.

The church is in a unique position to offer sanctuary from the frenetic pace of life that Millennials experience. In the Making Space for Millennials report, Millennials say they look to church as a place of respite—a place where they can simply be.

Alienation

Divorce, transience, delayed development—these are just three of the key factors that have created a sense of alienation among Millennials. Whereas previous generations may have experienced a greater sense of permanence and connection to traditions and institutions, Millennials often have experienced this type of rootedness.

Culturally, today’s young adults are waiting to marry until much later than previous generations, and typical life milestones are taking them much longer to achieve. Much of this stems from a distrust in the authority of people, such as religious and political leaders, and institutions, such as marriage and government.

Authority

Millennials’ attitude toward authority is another defining aspect of this generation. Today’s young adults are born into a world that has fostered their creativity and empowered them to be and do anything.

Millennials are often considered a generation of entrepreneurs. Their desire to start new things is a boon to innovation. But it’s also born from their deep distrust in institutions—most notably, the church. For a variety of reasons, they don’t believe the church has their best interests at heart. Plus, those who either never attended church or who dropped out during their 20s don’t necessarily see the compelling need to be part of a church. They’ve learned to live life without church, so why start now, research shows.

Churches have an uphill climb to help Millennials discover the benefits of being part of a faith community. Interestingly, there’s a trend among Millennials to experience local community—farmers markets, small businesses, even local parishes. There’s a desire to be part of a community, and yet churches will need to work to earn trust back with this generation that has seen many leaders fall over moral indiscretions and marriages fail at an alarming rate.

To hear more about how the church can address these key aspects of the Millennial experience, watch Roxanne Stone’s video series on “Millennial Trends & the Church,” based on a talk she gave at the Aspen Group Learning Summit in June 2015.

 

About Marian V. Liautaud

Marian served as Aspen's Director of Marketing from 2014 to 2021, sharing stories about how Aspen designs, builds, and furnishes space for ministry impact.