I read an article on FoxBusiness dated August 7, 2014 titled, “The America Ahead: How Millennials Will Reshape the National Landscape.” It made me think quite a bit about the Millennial Generation, those born in the period between 1981 and 2000 if I understand the definition correctly. The article noted that there are 80 million of them in the United States, a generation even larger now than the Baby Boomer generation (1946-1964), which for the most part is the parental generation of the Millennials.
The article noted that many believe this generation may be the first which may have a lower standard of living than that of their parents. Looking at the affairs of this country, the uncontrolled rising level of national debt, our waning influence in world affairs, and our diminishing respect in world opinion, this belief cannot be dismissed out of hand as foolish or outlandish.
Millennials marry later in life, have families later in life than previous generations (a good thing if more maturity and wisdom is attached to those decisions), and Millennials take longer to establish themselves in careers. Millennials are the generation which will have to squarely face the stresses on this country’s social safety nets; the shrinking ability of the country’s finances to be able to maintain the promise made to previous generations.
Given the recent events as they relate to immigration, legal or illegal (and I do not wish to address that controversial topic here), the Millennials will also live in a more ethnically diverse country than the U.S. has ever been before. Time will tell (though the Lord already knows) whether this is a good thing or not.
Clearly the Millennial Generation is different from that of their parents and grandparents. And, time will tell (though the Lord already knows) whether that is a good thing or not. But reading the FoxBusiness article didn’t make me keep thinking about the reshaping of America; I started to think about the faith beliefs of the Millennial generation, beliefs that will be shaping eternity for each and every one of them, depending on what they believe.
According to Pew Forum research, Millennials are less likely to regularly attend church, less likely to identify themselves with a specific denomination or religion, and less likely to believe in the existence of God. Less likely, but not dramatically so, than previous generations at the point in time when they were the same age of Millennials today. They are not a godless generation, but they do believe differently. As with any generation, a belief in god does not necessarily mean a belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Bible, identified as the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Where it becomes most disturbing is in the area of evangelical Christianity. Millennials from evangelical Christian backgrounds are markedly less likely to believe Scripture is the inerrant, literal Word of God. They are more accepting of homosexuality. They hold similar views on abortion as older evangelicals, but feel less threatened by Hollywood social values and prefer the government to deal more with social issues than do their elders. Statistics go on, but there is a shift, not seismic yet, but a shift away from the more conservative, fundamentalist views of evangelical Christianity as a whole.
Are there pre-millennial Millennials? Does the younger generation believe Jesus is coming soon, and that we are anxiously awaiting a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church wherein Jesus Christ will come to take His church (the remnant church) home with Him before the Tribulation? The seven-year period of the Antichrist’s reign during which Satan will ravish those who believe in Jesus Christ? That time of Great Tribulation wherein God pronounces and enacts His judgment upon an unbelieving world?
The answer is yes, but in lesser numbers than ever before. Go to any of the major prophecy conferences held annually, and you will see an aging population in attendance, which year by year grows grayer and smaller. Oh, there are younger folks there, but they are in the minority. Going to one actually makes me feel young again for a few days, then life’s reality sets in and I realize that I too am aging year by year. What can be done? We need to better engage this generation into the eschatological conversation.
However, we must realize for better or worse, the primary means of communication with them is through the various avenues of social media. It can be fast paced, perhaps even rapid fire, with a tendency for more superficial interaction than a sit down face to face conversation would allow.
We must develop ways of reaching through these mediums, in culturally relevant ways, without diluting our message or distorting our beliefs. It will be no easy task to show the love of Christ, and the very mind of Christ in 140 character sound bites. But we need to engage, and thereby draw into a more meaningful discussion, this generation.
Think about how Jesus engaged Nicodemus in John 3:1-21, then look at how He did it with the woman at the well in John 4:1-42. He drew them in based on the level of their understanding of Scripture. He contacted, engaged and drew them into a deep, life changing discussion (eternally life changing).
We can do this also. Because we are imbued with the Holy Spirit to know and share the mind of Christ, we can have the ability, and are given the responsibility, to tell others that trust in Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation and eternal life.
Are there pre-millennial Millennials? Yes, but not enough. And quite frankly, there are not enough in the older generations either. There are never enough, but we are called to spread His gospel, not keep tally of the score of unsaved. Only He knows whose are His. Ours is to bring Him to them, and let the Spirit bring them to Him.
Let us be diligently doing so until He calls us home, either individually, or corporately as His remnant church when He steps out on the clouds of glory and with a great trumpet shout says:“Come up here!”
Jesus is Coming Soon!
Even So Come.
Rafter Cross Ministries