Who Are They?
The Millennial generation
What, exactly, is the Millennial generation?
The term Millennials is usually considered to apply to individuals who reached adulthood around
the turn of the 21st century. The earliest proposed birthdate for Millennials is 1976 and the latest
2004. Suddenly, Millennials are everywhere according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the
number of American born between 1982 and 2000 stands at 83 million, representing a quarter of
the country’s population. Their ranks also exceed baby boomers, the 75.4 million American born
between 1946 and 1964. There is about 76 million Millennials in the United States (based on
research using the years 1978-2000. There is a great deal of variation from one individual to
another within any generational group. Nevertheless, the particular environment for any
generation affects those individuals in ways that are observable as broad tendencies. The
significant impact this population is having on the church is undeniable and will continue to grow.
A Snapshot of Millennials
Millennials grew up in an electronics-filled and increasingly online and socially-networked world.
They are the generation that has received the most marketing attention. As the most ethnically
diverse generation, Millennials tend to be tolerant of difference. Having been raised under the
motto “follow your dreams” and being told they were special, they tend to be confident.
Millennials are the last
generation born in the 20th
century. Twenty percent have at
least one immigrant parent. 50
percent of Millennials consider
unaffiliated and 29 percent consider themselves religiously unaffiliated. Although they comprise
20% of the U.S. population 18% of churches in the U.S. have no Millennials attending. Even more
churches are experiencing alarming shrinkage in their millennial membership. In a few short
years Millennials will (or will not) be leading your church. Space can enhance or inhibit Millennials
ability to engage with a church community, encounter God and feel at home pursuing their
purpose. Is there any room? Engaging in daily mission, understanding and living out their calling
in the kingdom is a necessary priority for Millennial participation.