I am always combing the internet for images that capture life. Telling a story through pictures. I am especially interested in the generation that I live and breath in every day. The Millennials. What characterizes us? Our political views? Religion? Marriage? Vocation? Interests? Likes/dislikes? Education?
The millennials are often told by the older wiser generation that we have never known a world without the internet. True. Technology “is at our fingertips” and youth is wasted on the young. We never appreciate what we have until we look back and recognize how well we had it…..why in my day….
My desire is to look at the information collected on the Millennials and recognize the role of the church in the process.
People spend good ol’ fashion quality time trying to understand the uniqueness an diversity of this up and coming generation…I want to see them transformed by the gospel. Knowing who they are is a great place to start.
(Found the original article and infographic here!)
Distinctives: Technology. Music and pop culture. I am living in Kosovo now and though thousands of miles away and in a completely different culture these two remain constant. Every kid is on Facebook and every kid knows the lyrics to the newest Rihanna song (despite it being in language they don’t even understand!)
Its no surprise to anyone that this generation is moving America towards greater ethnic diversity. The term “minorities” is changing and I believe this category accounts for 30% of the U.S population. In 2009 the US Census bureau reported that 50% of the children under the age of 5 come from a “minority” family. John Piper gives an incredible look into the changing landscape of America.
Likewise I see a pretty obvious correlation between the democratic political view and this generation-they are aware of social issues both domestically and globally and seek to change that. The democratic party has historically been associated with social issues from racism to poverty to universal health insurance.
This stat reminds me that we are in a battle for this next generation. The US census bureau estimates it a little less than the fore-mentioned 25% are without religion, but of those 75% it is a hodgepodge of all kinds of religions christian science, Mennonite, catholics, and every other world religion you can think of.
Higher education creates this extended single lifestyle resulting in far less millenials pursuing marriage at the same time in life as their parents or grandparents had. Most millennials are still trying to earn that rite of passage into adulthood by getting a good education and figuring out just who they are.
This is where many college pastors are crucial in the process. We have a window of opportunity into their life as these students are exploring ideas and wrestling with life issues. I recommend checking out my review of Chuck Bomars book, Worlds Apart, to get a better picture of what it looks like to build relationships with these college-age people. This is a critical age and they are hungry for the truth. Jesus cries out, “if anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37-39). It is our joy to build relationships with this generation and awaken their hearts to God and see their desires, expectations, and identity be completely satisfied in God alone.
The economy hasn’t helped this generation in the way that it has other American generations in the past. However, the silver lining is that many millenials saw the life of their parents and are willing to wait to find the job that will bring more than a paycheck–they are looking for fulfillment. They saw their parents come home everyday and complain about how horrible their job was or the fatiguing co-workers or the over bearing boss. Yet-the parents daily went to the trenches for other reasons; nice salary, travel benefits, proximity, vacation, prestige, etc. HOWEVER-this generation flip flops jobs looking for that elusive white unicorn that will satisfy all their needs, wants, desires, etc. As soon as the company shows any flaws or they no longer feel valued and appreciated the idea of loyalty and faithfulness are out the window along with themselves as they continue the search and look to mom and dad to continue to foot the bill.
Again-I look at this and want to ask—–WHERE DOES THE GOSPEL COME IN!?!?——-I cannot help but think how we have been wired to find fulfillment and pleasure. I cannot help but think of how our system works to be happy. We want to find that white unicorn or pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We want to believe that all dreams come true and their is a happy ending love story. When we do not find it or the partner in the relationship (spouse, girlfriend, co-worker, employer) isn’t meeting our needs we do not look internally for solutions-at our own brokenness-instead we think that the other person is at fault and walk out.
My heart is to see these students enraptured by the power of the gospel that reveals our brokenness and the only desire that can satisfy that intense thirst of our souls is Jesus. I want students to see and savor Jesus as their fulfillment. As college leaders we have the privilege in engaging in tough conversations. Wading through deep pains and hurts. Emerging on the other side (prayerfully) with a changed life. Changed by the gospel. Awakened to their souls thirst and satisfied in Jesus.
This is our job. And it blows my mind at times that we get paid to do this. God is good.