I'm fascinated by the generations. I love talking about Builders, Boomers, Gen x and Gen Yers--their characteristics, strengths and weaknesses.
Aimy Steele and I have taught a breakout on intergenerational women's ministry for the past few years at She Speaks. This year as she described Gen. X characteristics, I tuned in sharply to hear about my own generation. (You can find lots of information about your generation at Aimy's blog by clicking here.)
There was one phrase that really caught my attention. Aimy explained, "Gen Xers are disillusioned by the political system. They've lost hope in it and are largely apathetic."
That's been so true for me. I've found myself tuning out entirely--skipping the news for more HGTV, cancelling my newspaper subscription and reading blogs on a very narrow spectrum.
When I heard Aimy speak about my generation, the "Me" generation, I realized that I had fallen into that disillusionment, and I needed to pull myself out. The world doesn't need checked out Christians. The world needs engaged, informed, involved, salt-and-light Christians.
So on Wednesdays I'm going to start writing about a current event. I'll do my best to make it something interesting for you, but it's also forcing myself to shift my gaze back to the world I live in and process it through my Christian world view.
I'm cheating a little this week, because I'm using an article from a Christian publication. I think it's relevant, though, on lots of levels to the world around us, and it taps into my fascination with generations.
In Lifeway's publication "Facts and Trends" this month, Thom Rainer forecasts what he believes will be the 5 major trends for churches. Here are some facts that struck me:
- Millenials (sometimes called Gen Y born between 1980 and 2000) have just surpassed the Boomers as the largest generation.
- Lifeway research estimates that only 15% of American Millenials are Christian.
- With nearly 80 million members, that means that almost 70 million American young people aren't Christians.
Rainer comes to so great conclusions about how that affects the church. Click here to read the whole article. (There's some great news about Boomers!)
I began thinking about how 70 million young Americans with a world view that's largely unaffected by Christianity shape our culture. The church is surely flawed (there are people there after all), but let's think about some of the values that the church espouses--telling the truth, treating others justly, caring for the poor, orphans and widows, seeking a non-relative Truth, behaving with the fruits of the Spirit....
Even though existing Christians fall far short, we're a group that is mostly trying to live these values. What happens when those values are seen as passe or irrelevant?
That's not to say that this generation is amoral. In fact, one of the reasons I've read they ignore the church is that they are a very socially aware generation, and they see the church as a group that's irrelevant in this arena. Ouch! What a painful but often accurate indictment.
Lisa Whittle and our She Seeks team is focused on reaching Millennials with the hope of Jesus. Is your church reaching out to this generation in any way? What kinds of things are you doing? I'd love to hear.