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Posts from the ‘Millennials’ Category

Study Reveals Decline in Religious Orientation Among Teens

One of the largest studies on religious beliefs in American youth has just been released. It revealed that change in culture is strongly influencing lower religious involvement.


As the above figure illustrates, the gap between teens and their parents’ religious affiliation is widening. Since 2000, there has been a steep decline in religious “nones” (those that do not claim adherence to any religion). Between 2000 and 2013:

  • 87% more college students claim no religious affiliation.
  • 50% more 12th graders claim no religious affiliation.
  • 43% more 10th graders claim no religious affiliation.

As the chart below reveals, girls, whites, and those living in the Northeast had the largest decline in religious affiliation.


The trend of religious decline affects all demographic groups, except possibly for African Americans.

The authors of the study present some possible explanations for the decline in religious orientation:

  1. An increase in individualism. This is characterized by focusing less on religious adherence and more on the self. Dr. Twenge, one of the researchers, stated, “Individualism puts the self first, which doesn’t always fit well with the commitment to the institution and other people that religion often requires.” She added, “when people become deeply involved in religious faith, they may be committing to a value system that may bring some costs to the self – albeit with the hope of benefiting others.”
  1. An increasing acknowledgment that religion is inconsistent with science. The researchers said it is possible that “debates about teaching creationism or intelligent design in U.S. schools, such as those in Kansas in 2005, pushed some young people away from religion.”
  1. Increasing religious pluralism in the U.S. “This could also result in the questioning or minimizing of all faiths”, the study suggested.
  1. Increase in online activities. The study stated that “a generation of “digital natives” heavily involved in online activities might simply have been less interested in religious teachings.”

What other possible explanations do you see for the decline in religious orientation in American youth?

Source: Jean M. Twenge, et. al. (2015). Generational and Time Period Differences in American Adolescents’ Religious Orientation, 1966–2014. May 11, 2015 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0121454

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The Changing Role of Religion in America

Millennials and God: New Study

What Attracts Millennials Most

What leadership trait attracts Millennials most? A sense of purpose. This is according to a recent study by Deloitte.

The study, which surveyed 7,800 Millennials across 29 countries, revealed that 6 out of 10 Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) said a sense of purpose was part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer.



As far as the individual traits of leaders, Millennials admire the ability to inspire, strategic thinking, decisiveness, interpersonal skills, passion, and someone who is a visionary. The graphic below illustrates these findings.


What are the implications for ministry from this research? We need to pay attention to how we communicate our mission and vision. If we come across as wishy-washy or indifferent, we will not attract the younger generation. We must communicate our passion for our spiritual beliefs. This does not mean giving lip service; it means being authentic from the inside out. We can only attract Millennials when they know that we are committed to walking the walk.

What other implications can you draw from this research?

You can download the full report here.


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Millennials and God: New Study
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Old Model Church vs New Model Church


Matt Carter is right on. Most people today—especially young people—are no longer content to let church services define the depth and length of their spiritual walk. They are seeking significance; they want to feel like they can make a difference in the world. It is time for the church to recognize it is not a fortress for believers but a hospital for unbelievers. How can we do this?

1. Seek Unbelievers. Jesus makes our mission clear. He tells us to, “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). Instead of waiting for people to come to us, we must go to, “the lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 10:6). In other words, unbelievers are not the seekers—we are. This is what we need to communicate to all believers.

2. Serve Others. This is what Jesus came to do (Mark 10:45). It means getting out of our comfort zones and looking for ways to serve people in our community—no strings attached. What are the needs in your community? Talk to your mayor and social service agencies. Take a poll in a coffee shop. Find out what you can do and then take a young person to serve with you.

3. Schedule Time. Evangelism does not happen by accident. Our schedules are already so busy that we need to plan times to be with people outside of church, family and work. I wrote about this is in Living Dangerously. “What are your interests? Become involved in activities you enjoy, with the distinct purpose of meeting others in places like health clubs, community sporting clubs, and parent clubs. Volunteer at hospitals, rest homes, or at community events such as car shows, parades, or charity events. These activities bring people together, and provide opportunities for establishing relationships” (p. 120). Our role is make disciples that make disciples, so we need to invite someone to share these activities with us.


What else can you do to challenge and mentor young people in the church today?


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Study Reveals Spiritual Disconnect Among Millennials

Millennial Media Use

A new study by Statista indicates that Millennials spend up to 18 hours per day using media. They spend the most time on the Internet and social networking sites.

Not all media is safe. According to a study conducted by McAfee, Digital Deception: Exploring the Online Disconnect between Parents and Kids, 50 percent of 13-23 year olds feel comfortable posting personal information online, and 57 percent report using the Internet to browse inappropriate content.

Is 18 hours a day on social media healthy? Why or why not?


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Millennials and God: New Study

Only 58% of Millennials are “absolutely certain” that God exists, according to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center. This is lower than any other generation of people as indicated by the graph below.

millennials and God

Additionally, 29 percent of Millennials are not affiliated with any religion. This is in contrast to Gen Xers (21%), Boomers (16%) and the Silent Generation (9%).


Further, only 36 percent of Millennials consider themselves a religious person. This is considerably different from older generations as indicated in the graph below.

millennials see themselves

This chart also identifies more than half (51%) of Millennials as supportive of gay rights, the least patriotic of any other generation, and the least likely to describe themselves as an environmentalist. In all four areas, Millennials are markedly different than older generations.

What can we learn from this research?

1.  Millennials do not follow the trends of the older generations. They believe what they do and will not be pressured into anything different.

2. Millennials are a generation that is still growing and forming their own opinions. It should be noted that adults of older generations typically increase their belief in God as they get older. It may be that the faith of Millennials will increase.

3. We should not make hasty conclusions. We may need to more closely examine this research to understand it more completely. For example, in my association with Millennials, I have discovered that the word “religion” is changing. In fact, to many Millennials, the word actually has a negative connotation. This generation may be more apt to describe themselves as “spiritual”. We may need to adjust the wording in our research to reflect changing definitions. Further, we should avoid over-generalizing or “pigeon-holing” generations, but consider each person as an individual. 

What can you observe from this research?

These findings are based on a new Pew Research Center survey conducted
Feb. 14-23, 2014 among 1,821 adults nationwide, including 617 Millennial adults, and analysis of other Pew Research Center surveys conducted between 1990 and 2014.

Complete report: Pew Research Center

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Personal Evangelism in the U.S.

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