Moral Crisis

Let me introduce you to the Millennial. Millennials are those who are born between 1984 and 2000. They are the largest generation in history, more than 78 million strong. Millennials disconnect from the church at the rate of 59 percent around the age of 15. Teens are one of the most religiously active groups in the nation, and then abruptly, in their twenties, they become a part of the least religiously active group. Kinnaman calls the 18-29 year segment ‘the black hole’ of church attendance. Like no generation previously, the relationship between youth, young adults, and the church is in a seismic mode. Significant shifts are underway.

Millennials have grown up in a culture distant from the faith of their grandparents. Each is on a different side of the social revolution of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, and the world looks very different from each perspective. Raindrops in the same rainfall, only a centimeter apart, are separated by the continental divide and each runs to a different ocean. There is a similar ideological generational watershed with Millennials. The same ideas create reactions that flow in dramatically different directions. The new generation has embraced a very different philosophical and moral vision than that of their grandparents.

Today, the generation gap of the Boomer’s grandchildren has widened. Their heroes have changed. Billy Graham, admired by almost 90 percent of the Builders and 70 percent of the Boomers is on the radar screen of only 30 percent or less of Millennials. After his recent death, a number of Millennials visited the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte confessing that they had never heard of him before. Other Christian names familiar to older generations are virtually unknown to Millennials – less than ten percent hold favorable views of Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Franklin Graham, or the late Chuck Colson. Even Andy Stanley and Joel Osteen fail to garner widespread Millennial favor. Who do they admire? Topping their list is Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, George Clooney, and Bill Clinton. Wow! That’s a generational seismic shift.[2]

Without a spiritual awakening that captures the attention of the Millennials and sees a significant number of them converted and swept into the kingdom of God, and as a result, the entire culture reengaged with the gospel, the current senior generation will pass away leaving Christian churches in the nation virtually empty. Only God can heal the divide and reclaim the current generation!

The blog is an excerpt from the upcoming book by P. Douglas Small, Millennials: The Young Adult Harvest That We Dare Not Miss. Pre-order your copy today>

[1] David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You are Irrelevant and Extreme, 58.

[2] David Kinnaman, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011), 54.