Yesterday, I attended the You Lost Me conference by David Kinnaman. David is the President of The Barna Group, which has done extensive research on the Millennial generation. It was a great day of thinking through this dynamic generation and how to best provide missional space to extend the gospel in meaningful ways to them. Here are three critical conclusions about what will be necessary to do so.
1. Make every setting deeply relational. One thing that the research revealed is the alienation that this generation feels. This is the generation of the broken and blended home. This is the generation which is broadly connected through social media, but longs for deep connection with flesh and blood. If we can create settings that enhance authentic relationships, then we can minister more deeply to those who are 18-30 years of age. The relationships need to be real and authentic. One person put it this way, “If you want to get to know a Millennial, share a meal.” In other words, get to know them at an individual level.
2. Be clear about purpose and calling. One of the greatest disconnects for this generation is how life and work fit together. There is a need to talk about purpose in life, vocation, and calling. We need to provide a stronger theology of work to help them make integrated connections to their daily lives. Much of this is due to the total access they have 24/7 to a constant stream of information. With all of this access their can be a strong sense of disconnect between the information and their purpose in life. David Kinnaman suggested that it is important to regularly ask a millennial about their purpose in life and to help them in the journey to connect their information points with biblical purpose.
3. Be intentional about revealing Jesus. David made a profound statement that is worthy of deeper consideration. When Millennials face turmoil, they don’t just need answers from God, they need God. We need to be able to reveal Jesus in tangible ways so that this generation truly experiences the whole gospel. The need for revelation is because of their view of authority and how it relates to their own identity. I believe this includes a deeper theological treatise of God through the Scriptures. They have a deep need to better understand their biblical identity through the gospel. We have tended to offer a “gospel lite” approach to our culture. This generation wants to be challenged and they want it to cost them something.
What are your thoughts?
Here are some links to The Barna Group and David’s books. There is a treasure trove of great information here that will be of benefit in thinking through this important generation: