Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Books & Such Midwest office, Illinois
After Generation X came Gen Yers.
Millennials (born 1981-2000, ages 11-30)–aka GenYers or GenNexters
Millennials want to know: How do we build it?
Pew Research Center’s reports that this generation is characterized as “confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.” They are not as involved religiously as older Americans. Rather, they’re more spiritual than religious. Generally speaking, they pray little, don’t worship, and don’t read the Bible. Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, said, “The Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships.”
Yet this doesn’t automatically mean they are more secular. They are blogging less but are using social networking more. Interestingly, they are returning to traditional values, a strong sense of community and diversity, with a keen interest in technology, information, and education.
According to Brandon O’Brien, author of The Strategically Small Church: Intimate, Nimble, Authentic, and Effective, “Because the GenXers’ parents (Boomers) weren’t involved in their lives, parents of Millennials (the GenXers) tend to over-parent. They’ve been labeled ‘helicopter parents’ because they hover over their kids and make sure they get everything they need all the time.”
Millennials tend to be more trusting of authority (because they had an example of trustworthy authority in their ever-present parents?) but less so of individual people. Perhaps this is affected by current events in their lives, terrorism, or again, their overprotective parents.
Millennials view marriage and parenthood as more important than careers and success. And of the two, parenthood is even more important than their marriage.
Are your creative senses on alert yet?
Millennials never knew the world without the Internet. They think globally because they can play video games and chat with people all over the world online anytime. They tend to be aware, then, of what’s happening around the world and to show concern for the poor and for justice. Their view toward education is that they need the structure of accountability.
At a faster rate than in the previous two generations, Christianity and biblical values are not honored and respected. Instead it is often scoffed and ridiculed. Christians are being persecuted all over the world—including in America—in alarmingly large numbers. The result is that Millennials’ spirituality is not founded in Christianity. The church has a hard time attracting and keeping Millennials. Drew Dyck, managing editor of Leadership Journal, has written a book, Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith . . . and How to Bring Them Back. It would be worth the read to gain insights for your characters, audience, and stories in this age group.
I didn’t offer any clues about hot topics today because I’d like to hear your thoughts without being influenced by mine. Let the discussion begin!