Since starting this little mini-series in August, I have tried to read what I can of the research that has been done on the millennial generation and fit it into how those of us who follow a pre-millennial dispensational view of the Bible should be responding to them. It is clear that the average millennial thinks differently than the generations that immediately precede them.
It is a logical conclusion that given the huge size of this cohort (a generational group as defined in the areas of demographics, statistics and marketing research), the millennial generation will have a significant impact on all phases of society and culture as it marches (as cohorts tended to do in the Roman Empire) through the season of time that they run things in this world.
As I look at the biblical teachings of end times prophecy, I continue to wonder about the impact this generation will have on the popularity of a pre-millennial dispensational approach. Hence the question in the title of this post, and hence the fact that this is Part Three.
I have done some reading that comes to the conclusion that the millennial is not happy with the way things are going in this country, no surprise as a lot of us who cannot call ourselves a millennial feel the same way. But here are some of the reasons cited for millennial anger:
• Nearly a third of adults ages 18 to 34 are living with their parents.
• Only about two thirds of men in their late 20’s have a full time job.
• Nearly half of the Millennial Generation are using about half their paycheck to pay off debt.
• The average millennial has a savings rate of around negative 2 percent.
• Nearly half of college graduates still have some level of financial dependence on their parents two years after graduation.
• National debt is in the $18 trillion range (and growing) and the Millennial Generation will be paying it off the rest of their lives.
It is easy to see the current economic state of our country is not being kind to the average millennial. This probably is not making the parent of the average millennial very happy either, given the situation and the help they must continue to give to a generation struggling to come into their own. Parents rightfully worried about what kind of life their children (and eventually grandchildren) are going to face.
So what does all this have to do with those of us who hold a pre-millennial worldview? Unhappy people are usually looking for answers and I believe we have the only worldview that has the truth and clarity of the Bible to back it up. If we engage with this generation as I discussed in Part Two, we have the opportunity to reach them with love, with answers to where the world is going (and why), and begin to bring them along to a life of solid Bible study and understanding.
Why can reaching this generation have so great an impact? It is estimated that over the next few decades (should Jesus not return in that time-frame), this generation will inherit $30 trillion in wealth. Who and what they give to will be impacted, giving them a sound biblical worldview will be crucial to the Body of Christ continuing to make a difference to millions as we minister to the world. We need them to see the relevancy of Bible prophecy and understand a focus on Jesus is still the only way to truly help the world. Money alone will not help, but money spent in a God honoring way will. We can show them the way.
Why is this generation a crop so ready to be harvested? In addition to the attitudes of the millennials who identify as Christian, nearly 2 out 3 non-Christian millennials have never read the Bible. There is a vast group of this increasing powerful and influential generation who have only heard what people tell them is in the Bible (and given the world opinion of Christianity, mostly likely a negative view).
We have a vast opportunity to reach out and save souls, and bring the lost to a proper interpretation of the Word of God. I believe there is more opportunity to reach people with a pre-millennial dispensational view of the Bible than ever before. The harvest is ripe, and the workers are few. Let’s make some more.
Another recent survey is also interesting to me from a different perspective. Barna research found that the millennial will gravitate to a quieter, more traditional church space. Two of three surveyed preferred a “classic” church to a trendy one. Three out of four preferred a church sanctuary to a church auditorium. About the same number wanted quiet and not loud. Survey respondents were looking for a deeper, more authentic church experience.
However, the survey seemed to focus on the visual nature of the millennial with the classic church setting being more of the stained glass cathedral type setting over the artificially created atmosphere of many mega-churches today.
Not all of us attend that type traditional church (at least what seems to be the millennial definition of traditional), I know I don’t. But I would love to spend time with a millennial talking about the truly traditional church, the one described in the book of Acts. What I believe to be the true church is modeled on the church founded by Jesus Christ as described in the early part of Acts, which is the church at its’ earliest time.
Not the stained glassed cathedral with that slightly medieval sense of awe. I would point them at the church that is truly traditional, that will lead to the deepest, most authentic relationship, the one that Jesus established, the one that Jesus wants for members of His church. Often a church with a house church type of feel. Might not evoke feelings of solitude and awe, but will embrace you with feelings of love and being part of a family.
Maybe I am kidding myself into thinking that is the church the average pre-millennial believer wants and is in. But is clearly the one we should be. And it is the church I feel we are best equipped to lead the millennial into, to turn them into pre-millennial millennials. The millennial with a wish to expand and deepen their social network should respond to that premise, and we of the pre-millennial dispensational approach are uniquely qualified to lead them to and reach them there.
After all, reaching people for Christ, pointing them to Him, giving them an understanding of this world and its problems, giving them an understanding of the only One who can solve these problems, is not that the reason to preach and teach biblical prophecy and the end times events that will come to pass?
Rafter Cross Ministries